Snow-way!! O yeah, it snows properly in Scotland ;) In which Kath hits up the hospital for some more toxic sludge, builds a snowman and has managed – da da daaa!! – to get TWO SHOES ON!! – for the first time in at least five months :D

…although to be fair they were Dad’s shoes 😉 😄

So as per the plan, last Monday I was scheduled in for a full day back at the hospital for dressing checks and dose two of cyclophosphamide – along with the various other bags of stuff you need at the same time to stop you projectile vomiting and protect your bladder from the chemo.  I woke up horribly early (5.30am… So genuinely, horribly early!) and then as NOT PER THE PLAN, the car windscreen wipers were not working, despite two return visits from autoglass to fix them previously, after an accidental breakage during a routine windscreen replacement… So given I was still not feeling mega swish post-hospital anyway, Mum’s stress levels went through the roof as she was faced with a two hour journey on the motorway, in the rain, without a properly working car and a whiny delicate passenger, with a lot of people waiting to put drugs into the passenger… After a very nice polite conversation with customer services (using the calm voice that probably came across as very reasonable, but would have had myself and my two brothers peeing ourselves) we hopped (literally haha) into the rather erm… interesting… Landrover and went and got a hire car for the motorway bit and got down only a few hours late! I say interesting; now Dad is very fond of the Landrover, but it has a roll of duct tape in the front for a reason and it rains inside when you go round corners 😀 It also isn’t very easy to get into, but with making some epic huffing noises I have been managing to do some sort of scrambly “HUP!!!” type thing that a week or two previously would have been completely impossible. Autoglass are in trouble 😉

All the drug stuff went very well, although I am fed up of having knackered veins 😦 The inside of ones wrist is NOT a nice place to have a cannula in for hours. Bruising up like a peach still, several days later! Got a whole load of bloods taken and they were all spot on target, so I was allowed to proceed with all of the litres and litres of drugs – saline, something called mensa to protect my bladder and kidneys… Some anti-sickness thingy (ondansetron in liquidy form maybe?) and the cyclophosphamide itself. I was absolutely awash. Mum did little bits of nipping into the town centre, exploring hospital and nattering to keep me from dying of boredom. Dressing changes also went nicely – stitches out of both Toe Gap and The Wound – getting them out nipped like stink and The Wound is so epic it has needed steri-stripped and further dressing checks since and looks like it is probably going to leave a fairly fabulous crater type scar…

Hats off once again to the ward staff, they were very sympathetic and understanding about us being a teeny bit late – especially the wonderful lady who had already come in on what had been booked as a holiday to administer the drugs for me, as only a tiny handful of staff are allowed to handle the chemo until they have had a few supervised training sessions. The other car still isn’t fixed, but thankfully the only use the Landrover has been required for whilst Dad was away has been local trips to GP five minutes away to do my INR checks (every bloody two days) and dressing pokings. Warfarin is going well!! I am so far alllllmost managing to stabalise at about 5mg a day, so just tweaking a smidge to get me slightly higher into the 2-3 target range and then I might be able to get stabbed a little less often!!

Other than regular INR stabbings, I have managed to spend most of this week on the sofa getting rather worryingly addicted to Criminal Minds and NCIS – and have nearly finished the trilogy Fave lent me!! Also being at Scotland home, I have had a chance to eye up some books to take back down with me. Not that I am in any way short of books down at England home, but the heart wants what the heart wants 😉  Mog continues to thrive under the attentive love and care she receives when there are witnesses and other feeders…

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The precious angel is SO deprived; she was ecstatic with glee about being presented with a box of her very own and has spent the best part of the last 24 hours in said box, so that no one can take it off her. Poor baby. I had a wobbly few days post-chemo – Tuesday in particular I spent the whole day on the sofa trying not to puke. Only salt and vinegar pringles made me feel any better! Mum is a very wonderful Mum indeed, but her rather scary response to me whining about feeling sick  was to threaten me with immediate eviction if I puked on the carpet 😀 Since then I have been getting more ‘tiggerish’ as Mum puts it; just slowly getting back to feeling a bit more like myself. I have been trying to use my stick a lot less and pottering around the kitchen playing football with the cat has helped! I also had a very fun day washing a bath full of giant lego we picked up from a charity shop for my baby cousin… SO MUCH FUN 😀

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…and then as is probably obvious from the main pic and title, it snowed one day for hours and hours and because it is bloody freezing up here, it settled and I went OUTSIDE and made a snowman 😀 Yes, that is genuinely a snowman. It may be small and its eye and grass scarf may have fallen off in the time I went to grab my phone to take a picture, but it was too bloody cold to fix it and I have to be very careful with the cold so my fingers and more toes don’t fall off. Stop being mean and don’t bother with the comments about it looking like a turd, I’ve heard them all already. IT’S A SNOWMAN. The other exciting bit about that was that when I went outside, I grabbed Dad’s shoes and had two shoes on for the first time since… At least the start of October!!

Plan is currently to head back down on this coming Monday I think… “About bloody time!” Said Mum… Yeah, yeah, yeah… Pretty excited to see friends again 😀 In the meantime, the dressing on The Gap (which was a token bit of gauze for the last two weeks anyway) came off this morning! I now have two socks on and no foot dressings needed, so for the first time since JUNE – and I am not even slightly exaggerating!! – had a shower WITHOUT A WATERPROOF GIANT SOCK THINGY ON!!!! This went very well and although I was wondering how weird it would be, it was very much taken in my stride, as the more interesting/distracting bit of the shower was how much of my sodding hair is coming out 😦 The info on cyclophosphamide said it tends to cause hair loss in at least 30% of people and I had already had a bit of an impact off the rituximab from December… With ritux being a lot less toxic. So I was sort of already braced for it to be honest. It said it takes three to six weeks to start falling out if it is going to; I am now getting to about three weeks since dose one and the last couple of days it has been coming out at quite an alarming rate, every sodding time I touch my head. So showering was quite amusing! I genuinely do mean amusing, because for whatever mentally certifiable reason, my reaction was to giggle :/ I  guess it is better than me having stood in the shower bawling my eyes out, but I don’t really understand why I am finding it quite so funny!! I don’t exactly put a lot of effort into my hair – it never gets straightened or blow dried or dyed etc. and as mentioned before, I don’t even use a hair brush or dry it after a shower, but I am going to have to have a serious think about what to do now!! I don’t want to scalp it all off immediately, as it really could just thin out a lot and settle there… But it definitely needs a lop – question is, how short?? If I was a delicate little waif – and having naturally curly hair, I would obviously go for a crop of ruffled ringlets that would make me look like a pixie… But if I am brutally honest with myself, I would struggle to look very pixie like and it would likely instead make my face look rather horrendously round 😀 If anyone wants to volunteer to attack my hair, be my guest as it very well may all fall out a few days later anyway 😉

To round things off for this post, amuse yourselves with my Dad’s reaction to the news of my hair falling out this morning… “Ohh, that’s not good. You will be careful to look after the shower drains, won’t you?!” Ahhhh Dad priorities 😀  He has also suggested more recently, whilst watching a former school rugby legend (two years above me, so I sadly can’t claim friendship :D) captain Scotland to DESTROY Wales earlier hehe (stop crying Maria), that I should get a prosthetic toe to smuggle drugs in. It is an absolute wonder to myself and everyone else after reading this, that I have turned out SO WELL ADJUSTED. Or will at least explain to the sceptical scoffers, quite why I am a little bit weird…

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Cranky Kath and The Stupid Mitten aaaaaand other stuff. Last few days of a very weird year… and a very different kind of NYE!

I have literally only just realised that the kitchen stools I have been uncomfortably wriggling on for days whenever I was in the kitchen have a rather comfy back support on them 😀 It would be funnier still, if I hadn’t already got a bit of a sore back from literally just the last half hour!! In the kitchen hiding whilst everyone watches something noisy and action packed on tv… I went to watch Rogue One the other day on the big screen – 3D no less! – and whilst it was good and I got all super nerdtastic about it, (especially the Admiral!!!) I quite definitely haven’t got my new quota through yet for tv noise for this new year! Really not convinced about 3D either. Have been saying it for years… Nahhhhhh. Ahh the boys tell me it is a Mission Impossible film – I will stay where I am, with my cup of tea and my lack of conflicting loud noises and people (other than me, I allow myself to do it) talking over the film…

So shopping mission was Wednesday… Thursday a lass I have known since I was about 5, when we very very first moved to Scotland, came to visit me! We used to live two doors away from each other until I was about 11 and have been in touch a bit more recently, with her having been reading The Adventures of Death Toe when she is awake with her gorgeous little boys! She brought the smallest one for me to squish and I was honoured not only with a very sweet tempered little boy for a few hours – complete with gummy grins and a decent snuggle, but a proper hefty load of milky puke, which as we all know is how babies express their approval haha 😀 Also got the below as a pressie – thanks Kat haha – I am seriously sensing a theme lately with everyone’s presents and cards 😛 Have had to pause in construction, as I was clearly a bit over zealous with the stuffing and ran out before finishing his legs, let alone his head… I have epic amounts back down South though, so he will be finished!! It has been nice though recently being back in touch with a few people I haven’t seen or spoken to for a while 🙂 One of the more unexpected and loveliest things that has come out of keeping this blog and being in hospital!

Life thoroughly caught up with me by Friday. Not sure if it was sitting in the kitchen too long on Thursday and not leaning back on the seat – a childhood of parents telling me not to slouch has clearly had SOME impact haha – yes yes, I shall blame the parents 😛 But yep. Friday was probably the most sore my joints have been in a long time 😦 Didn’t do an awful lot apart from try on bras… and watch Harry Potter 😉

The epic mountain of bras that we cleared out of M&S in an armful, in a bid to minimise shopping time and energy the other day… I managed to whittle the pile of about 13 down to five! Apart from that, Dad and Little Broo went out somewhere and Mum and I had a truly delightful few hours watching more Harry Potter and eating turkey and chips. Or turkey salad… Can’t remember any longer, just know it will have involved turkey >.< I was in a pretty vile mood most of the day on Friday. Not AS bad yesterday. Vile again today (Sunday). I have been finding more and more that I have much lower tolerance for noise of pretty much any kind :/ I was noticing it a lot in the hospital but had kind of assumed that was because of the weird and new kind of stress of being in a fishtank for eight weeks, with nosy irritating old ladies and zero personal space or privacy… It does definitely correspond with the particularly sore days – I basically get a bit flinchy if more than one person is talking at once, or there are too many people in the room… Or cutlery is making clattery noises… Or the tv is on and people are talking etc. etc. 😦 I have become a liability!!! A really cranky, horrible, grouchy version of Kath. I keep feeling bad and wanting to apologise and then someone irritates me again :/ I should probably just stay away from humans.

Harry Potter audiobook on to try and calm my brain down – on The Chamber of Secrets at the moment and just realised quite how awful the voice Stephen Fry has for Hermione is :/ Can’t do anything about it. What a pickle. I’ve got the Deathly Hallows parts one and two to go now in my marathon with Mum – had to abandon it today as boys kept coming in and TALKING DURING THE FILM…

The definite low point of Friday (aside from not being able to move very well and moving like I was made of what I was later describing to myself very carefully (morphine…) as concrete museli…?????) was The Mitten Incident. I had cracked on a few days ago and was finishing it off during yet more Harry Potter (film five I believe). First, I had cast off and was stitching up and realised I hadn’t left a thumbhole… Undid all the stitches, factored in a thumbhole, started stitching further down the side… and then realised that I had got a bit too premature in my panic and had put it at the wrong end; that being determined by the different edging I had cleverly assigned to the top and bottom. SO, the newly created gap was stitched shut and a new one created further down the edge. By this point, Mum was already smirking at me and I was growling. Then… I finished the mitten. I squeaked with glee and pulled both of them on… and realised that one arm was significantly colder than the other. I don’t know how the hell I managed it, but I have successfully made the new mitten six rows exactly longer than the first mitten. Given that this is now two perfectly finished and otherwise identical mittens, I am not mentally or physically capable of unravelling it to remedy the problem. So next time I order more yarn from the horribly expensive awesome yarn shop, I will get more and make a second longer mitten. The shorter one can become some kind of overly fancy phone sock…  For which I will need to sew up the thumbhole!!! Mum thought this was all very amusing. I thought it was a very sad and painful ending to what had been a rather epic journey with the mittens, having started the first one in hospital and having been ever so proud of it. Pride comes before an unfortunate miscalculation!!!

I was also really not so great yesterday (Saturday), both joints AND Death Toe being a complete git. I had to do a dressing change, as I had put it off Friday due to being sore and wound up.  For the sake of finding a good point in this, it did mean I could save it for Grandpa’s arrival, so he got to see the whole process, which he displayed an appropriate level of morbid curiosity for… He offered to help, but frankly help is a bit useless as it is quite definitely a one person job and I barely let the trained doctors and nurses touch it, let alone anyone else!! But aye. The inadine (brand name! – basically iodine on a gauze) dressing that gets wrapped around the join and most of the dead bit, keeps Death Toe dry and from becoming infected – or I imagine rotting or mouldy!!! For the dressing changes, less is definitely more and I basically just have to very gently wipe away any excess inadine, put a new bit around the join especially and then magically convince a new bit of foamy dressing pad to stay put whilst I then hypafix it in place. Once that bit is done I can take the gloves off and it gets a bit less fiddly, but trying to get the gauze to stay put under the foamy bit on Saturday was very challenging!! The live bits of toe at the boundary are also not enjoying the inadine and were all crusty and it is making a very odd edge where the dead part is pulling in and away from the live bit as it shrivels. Very slowly, but we do definitely have shrivelling!

Death Toe foot at the LAST dressing change was noticeably more swollen than the other – and I had also suspected it was for a while. It looked like it still had the same water retention problem going on and I did a test the last two days and didn’t use the Nitro-Dur patches (increases circulation locally) and it has worked instantly – swelling in the foot way way down and less painful in the rest of the foot. I have also found the same thing happened as occurred a week or so after the methylpred, when the original wack of water retention started to go down and got some AWESOME snake toe business 😀 Just the actual alive foot shrinking back down to normal I guess, but the top layer of skin on a few of my toes peeled off in the most amazingly satisfying sheets yesterday – yes that is unbelievably gross, but for all of you covert scab pickers out there, imagine the best scab ever!! Am listening to The Chamber of Secrets audiobook, got to the bit where they go into the chamber and the giant snake skin and it just reminded me 😀

It was New Years Eve yesterday anyway – started off the day with parents and Little Bro sorting out who was coming round for food and drinks… Laz (old school friend) said she could come over as well to drink tea with me 😀 Dad managed to get himself in super big trouble very early on in the day, for not recycling the food waste (I may have not helped matters at that point with a few snitches hehe) – he got a pre-party, mid-food prep glass of a nice whisky down him and got verrrrrry brave… He was also already in trouble for organising a very typically Scottish NYE house party and then making MORE SOUP rather than… Oh say… Any other job. This enraged Mum. I can fully understand why!!! We already have many many many loads of fresh soup from the past few days. So many more jobs needed to be done. Dad making more soup? Not so helpful Dad!

[Harry is SO SLOW at realising Tom Riddle is not his friend in the chamber… Bloody hell Harry, catch on!!!]

Anyway, yesterday eve was amusing. We had a houseful – all carefully vetted for illness beforehand!!  Little Broo had a whole load of his school mates over, most of whom I have known for many years and watched grow from lovely little boys to hideously tall beer drinking giants, who think they are super witty.  The food was ace – venison casserole! The ‘adults’ stayed in the other room out of the way and myself and Laz spent the majority of the evening drinking earl grey and ribena and supervising… Watching… :/ Several rounds of increasingly weird games of circle of death and yeh… It started off weird before they even drank anything 😀 There was some fun whistling singing thing using cracker whistles as well. I completely by accident timed the drugs perfectly; realised at 8pm that that meant the next painkillers were gonna be midnight – childish maybe and obviously blah blah drugs are serious and should not be taken lightly blah blah… but my midnight toast for the New Year was 5ml of liquid morphine 😀 It gave everyone a bloody good chuckle and kept me on an even keel pain-wise 😉

Bit sad that my first non-drinking NYE in… ten years!! – happens to be the one that the parents produced the biggest bottle of gin I have ever seen 😦

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One of the wonderful young gentlemen did a pretty piss poor effort at making a list of toe jokes… Essentially turned out to be words that can involve TOE in some capacity 😀 I promised to relate them and give him credit anyway, so here goes! Thanks Tom 😉 Never heard any of these before to be fair, so points for originality!!

TOEblerone… TOEfu… Whats the story in TOEbermory?… Sticky TOEfee pudding [we had some, it was awesome]… Whats your fave song from Annie? TOEmorrow… TOEmorrow… [full song ensued]…

Oh and not toe related, but a rather strange ‘which would you rather…’ game, that had what was possibly the BEST options ever 😀 ] “Which would you pick? For every baby you see to appear to you as a muffin? Or every time you sneeze you swap gender?” I was laughing so hard by this point I was leaning over the table for further support, as the fact I was sat down wasn’t sufficient.

I managed quite a late night anyway and had a lovely one, but a bloody weird one! Didn’t get moopy either; most of my bestest buddies were having a pretty insane party back down South – the pictures today have been very amusing 😀 – and I had wondered if I would miss it all a lot and get sad, but I survived 😉

[Bloody hell he still hasn’t figured out who Tom Riddle is!!!!]

I spent the last two New Year Eves with friends – at a farmhouse party which was AWESOME (I still remember the venison stew and dumplings!), back when I was first getting to know a lot of my current buddies – and then last year at a party in some woods in the middle of nowhere – by then I was already very much not a very well Kath and was sore as hell – I spent last 1st January absolutely crippled on the floor of a yurt, having got way too cold overnight and done way too much :/ At least this year I have learned my limits a little better – although only relatively recently since hospital! Glad I didn’t get moopy anyway. That is a bit pointless and not a good way to begin a year 😉

I shall give the final word of 2016 (ish – of NYE-night at least) to Little Broo, addressing one of his oldest friends. Friend has known my Mum for a super long time. A few hours after midnight, when Mum was dispersing and saying her goodnights, he came out with the following:”Julie. You’re looking really trim right now. Its taken the alcohol to get it out of me……….”

Little Broo: “BE VERY VERY CAREFUL RIGHT NOW!”

He isn’t getting the overall final word though. I want that! I learned last night that sadly music is going to need to be avoided for quite a long time… I was sitting in the kitchen and some rather awful cd of ‘Boobs’ (Bublé) and Sinatra etc. was on and I started doing a sub-conscious toe wiggle… NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT TRY TO TOE WIGGLE TOES THAT ARE PARTIALLY DETACHED/DETACHING. I didn’t learn immediately either, I did it several times 😦 Funnily enough, although I am much much less sore today – joints as well as Death Toe- he is doing the odd very sudden sharp twinge, quite outside of his normal repertoire! I reckon he is having his revenge against being wiggled!! 😀 Little shit 😉

It was utterly delightful waking up without a hangover… I will say that for staying sober!! Had a little faff around with some new yarn… Not sure what to do with it yet, but it is called cupcake and it is beautiful!

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Finished two new nanoblock models by the way (for all those I managed to get addicted 😀 ) – these two were very easy compared to Keith the Unicorn 😉 – meet Cyril and Francis respectively. Next up is a much larger model – some kind of fancy castle business!! Ahhh Harry Potter audiobook once again working to calm my brain down a bit out of grouch mode 😀 Reckon I can go brave human beings again for a few mins and say bye to Little Broo before he goes back down South… 😦

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Death Toe made me do it – sales shopping! :D Having fun whilst chronically ill…

As planned, I was up nice and early this morning and went on a jaunt with Mum after a fairly lazy morning of drugs, food and one and a half cups of tea… Particular missions included some new bras, tackled by doing a broad sweep of pretty much every single one in my size that is halfway pretty, to take home and try on at home/be returned if required. The pile is stupendous 😀 Got some skirty/dressy tings as well! I had a lovely day – a bit of a rarity getting near actual shops!  – and then compounded the damage by completing every bit of online sale shopping I had been half planning over the last few weeks… Oops… Death Toe made me do it, honest!!!

Featured image is by someone who was a school bus mate of mine growing up – lived very close by; he is back home for Christmas by the looks of his posts!! – taken in the Ochils – the range of hills spreading behind my folks’s house. The below was taken at Loch Leven – again pretty bloody close to their house 😀

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So pretty!! He consistently takes amazing pictures, puts them together into calendars sometimes and so many of them are from places in Scotland I am familiar with; it makes me very happy following the page and seeing his posts 🙂  Sunrise Scotland – beautiful pics!

Back to the shopping expedition today… A few of us were sharing this round the other week and I saved the link and kept going back for a re-read: “I won’t apologise for having fun…” Several posts that were made today in the Vasculitis UK support group have started up similar conversations, along the lines of people having – and voicing – opinions on ‘how well’ you are, or whether or not ‘you should be working/or not’ or making judgements based on snapshots they see of you on ‘good days’…

It was making me think that anyone seeing me today would have struggled to tell how much pain I was in at some points or how tired I was getting. I had a spontaneous nap in the car on both the way there and back… I was sore as hell trying things on – with a LOT of assistance from Mum being my general discards and hanger servant 😛  – but I was absolutely sodding determined to go that final floor in Debenhams just in case they had something exciting as it is INCREDIBLY unusual now for me to get anywhere near an actual shop, where I can try things on. As many of my friends commented when I was out of hospital, I am a silly stubborn bastard when it comes to pacing myself and asking someone else to help me. A huge amount of it is having lived by myself for two years and having no choice. Another huge part is that you get used to a certain level of background pain being there all of the time.  I am not suggesting for second it can be ignored all of the time, but I’ve found particularly if I have a specific mission or I started off not too tired, or am not having a ‘bad day’ sometimes I can push on for further than other days and hide it to a much greater extent.

Choosing to walk around that last floor – once I had already decided I was sore, was used almost more as a chance to stretch out, as I had started to stiffen up and I was trying to delay it until I was on the sofa at home :/ Sometimes – for me anyway – if I am already sore and aching in my joints, it is actually less punishing to keep moving around a little bit rather than stop, at least until I am somewhere warm and comfy. Cold particularly is an absolute git once I am sore. I can walk differently and calculate how I am compensating on the stick and balance how much I am favouring Death Toe compared to my joints. Yes, I overdid it today and my back and shoulders hurt from trying on a few dresses and my knees are NOT happy with me – and once again the fact I can feel all of this on the painkillers I am on is a little bit alarming!! But it was a calculated and knowing overdoing; we had the tasks broken into chunks and I had quite a few stages I could have stopped at if I had needed to. I had FUN, I did something I very rarely do now and I would have been mopey as hell if I had stayed at home!

I brought it up with Mum at one point, the fact that I get asked A LOT “what have I been doing to [myself]?!” when people see me with a stick/fluffy sock and sandal. Sometimes I can deal with it, other times it really irks me – it has so far always been well intentioned – e.g. the Tesco delivery man was horrified when I explained that the reason I was sitting on the bottom step leaning on the wall whilst Inside Friend came and let him in, was NOT a hangover!!  I then felt bad for making him feel bad by not letting his assumption stand… But curious questions at that point are welcomed by me and I would imagine by most in my situation. Sometime sadly people respond with judgement or ill-informed opinions or just plain ignorance, hurtful assumptions and comments. I had one amusing moment today where a woman in a lift asked something along the lines of “what have you done to yourself?” and I replied with the standard “its actually a long term chronic problem…” and because I was feeling a little bit reckless, I threw in a “my toe is actually falling off, it is a really really dead toe! [or similar…]” I am not normally AS blunt, but I guess knowing I will never see her again and that I am quite far away from my normal stomping ground made me use it as a test situation.  Genuinely not the drugs – I was about due some more at that point and feeling every minute of it!! 😀 But yep. She responded wonderfully 😀 Something along the lines of “o you poor thing! – you remind me of my granddaughter, she is a top model!” – I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but it had me in absolute fits, particularly as a) I do not normally fall into the category of ladies who receive that type of compliment, b) I was knackered, sweaty and disgusting from trying clothes on and overdoing it by that point and c) Mum came out with an absolute belter once we were out of earshot – worthy of HER MOTHER – yes Mum, I said it! – and said “She looked like she was high on something” – THANKS MUM!!! I get likened to a top model and the person looks like they are high 😀

Once at home I have had the rest of the night on a proper Harry Potter marathon! Watching the films on the magic recording box, as they are all being shown on tv at the moment – it has been so many years since I saw them and certainly the last few, I will definitely only have seen once, in the cinema, at the point of release. The Prisoner of Azkaban had a lot of peril and tense atmospheric music and I wasn’t dealing with it very well 😀 I am an absolute jessie!! Used the knitting as a distraction – Mitten Two is about half done now and I am flying through it compared to the pace I was achieving in hospital!

Having the pred so many hours earlier was supposed to make me sleepier earlier 😀 FAIL!

Anyway one of the things I very cleverly bought today was some yarn off the ‘loveknitting’ site as they were practically giving it away :O Would have been rude not to. Bought some super chunky multicoloured yarn with the specific intention of making this: Knitted bag – free pattern ooooo! Will be the first time I will make anything requiring the use of either circular needles OR double pointed needles – let alone both! – but I am aiming to make it slightly easier/more forgiving by just using the one colour, as the wool has enough change through it to compensate… I hope!

Dang it – not sleepy 😦 Might have to listen to HP audiobook and try and get ahead of the films… Not sure that is possible more, lot of words in those books! My nose is sodding cold!!! Has anyone ever had their nose go ischaemic and ulcer/get frostbitten purely from shitty circulation/vasculitis??? Toe falling off spontaneously is one thing… What if my nose does it?????

Death Toe ALSO finds Tom Hanks films scary. JUST SAYING.

The day started off beautifully in the afternoon: came down and ate some leftover pigs in blankets… Had some drugs… Did quality bonding time with little broo… He went away to play poker… Saw one of my oldest and dearest friends and did some jigsaw and had a bloody good natter and several cups of tea with her (happy times!!!)… Dinner was a lovely leftover salady thing… Then it all got ruined!!! I just had a very traumatic evening watching some horrible Tom Hanks film about pirates and hostage situations and from the very first minute my blood pressure was up, my other toes and fingers were dying and my liver was getting increasingly deranged!! DERANGED! I really don’t deal with tv and dramatic situations very well 😦 O and little broo reckoned earlier that it wasn’t so much that hospital had made me more unhinged, but rather that I wasn’t very well hinged in the first place :/ Not sure how I feel about that!!!

Dad said no to changing the channel and went on a lot about how it was a true story… It was HORRIFIC!! Very horrific. I got the last ten mins at the end of Love Actually to soothe my innards – LOVE that film – but yep, that is why I don’t watch tv or films!!!

Finally picked up the knitting again to start Mitten Two – mitten one as featured being of hospital fame…

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Urgh look how ill and hospitally I look 😀 My eye bags are definitely less cavernous… Death Toe is MUCH less painful now; the nerves have definitely ceased trying to live and communicate between me and he… But I reckon joint pain and stiffness are worse :/ Swings and roundabouts!

But aye. So I picked it up, did a row, freaked out because I had forgotten how to knit basic rib (its been a while, ok?!) and made the mistake of asking Mum… Its like watching someone else change the nappy on your newborn child; she was making statements like “oo I haven’t done this in a while!” and “oops I just lost a stitch…” and frankly it was almost as nerve wracking as whatever that horrible film was.

I let her knit the three rows I needed and made her put it down and walk away… Dad in the meantime is chipping in with “I used to knit…” – horrible visions now of coming down and they are both messing around in my stash… *shudder*

Had a few late nights… Did some exceptional purchasing of nanoblock kits (restrained myself quite admirably, left most of them in the wishlist!!) and some very much required stationary (can never have too much stationary) and tomorrow is potentially a sniff at an actual shop, in actual fresh air, with actual human beings :O It has been a long time! I need to sort my body clock out now as the pred has to start happening a LOT earlier to try and reset the insomnia at least by a few hours! So agreed to an excursion with Mum tomorrow now, which means waking up early, which means going to bed now haha 😀 I have no idea how I am going to handle walking/people/standing blah but quite sure Mum will be on the ball with yelling at me to keep “that toe” away from everything and everyone and worst case, I will just start crying with exhaustion and have a nap in the car 😛 Night y’all!!!

Death Toe’s first AND LAST Christmas!!

I got a little excited last night about Christmas and as a result stayed up till about 3am (as you do).  I am blaming the pred – such a common excuse!!! – but I am also aware that a LOT of people on the support group were awake as well, so yep I think its a valid one 😉 Santa snuck in at about midnight whilst I was peeing and left a stocking on my bed and buggered off to sleep… Or wherever. How would I know. He is Santa… But this meant BECAUSE NO ONE WOKE ME UP, I got up at 1pm… Which meant a breakfast of pork pie slice to take drugs with and then being a weird pathetic kind of sous chef with the rest of the fams yelling at me to get my toe out of the way every time I set foot or feet on the kitchen floor!! I made scones yesterday. I’m not COMPLETELY banned from the kitchen!!

Mum and I have been on the cups of tea all day and the boys (broo and Dad) and Mog (our cat that kinda thinks she is a dog) have been boozing gently allll day.

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We did the usual traditional turkey roast and sort of accidentally factored in the missing brother in terms of volume – last year big broo ate nearly as much as the rest of us put together. Yes, I am prone to exaggeration A LOT, but he honestly ate so much it was scaring me. So this year there is quite a bit of food left and we will be eating turkey/veggies/stuffing sandwiches for a few days 😀 I still reckon if we put it all in a pot and blitzed it with some gravy it would be an amazing soup, but no one seems keen to try it yet.  The best bit of Christmas dinner this year was managing to get away without eating the two sprouts Mum put on my plate hahahaha FOILED YOU MOTHER!!! Also, the toasts we did. Big broo got one, parents did some nice ones about health and happiness etc… I was getting told off as all of mine were slightly more… Negative 😀 They involved a lot of addendums and sub-clauses… Such as “To Death Toe. May he piss off really soon. But not too soon. And not in a painful manner. And not leaving a mess behind him. Preferably not getting infected or damaged any further before he falls off…” Apparently you also aren’t allowed to wish anyone a lingering death so they quit their job :O I had to amend that one several times as well before it was allowed to stand :/ Spoil sports!

After Xmas din dins, we did a concerted effort on the pressies – I got some awesome bits for my house when it one day gets habitable and I can move in – including a rug I have been lusting after for a looooong time 😀 It is so super colourful!! The plan with the house has been from day one to have it very neutrally decorated, so that I can vomit colour and uncoordinated crap alll over it. Plants as well. It is going to be a kind of multi-coloured shiny jungle 😛 Mum shudders every time I expand further on my plans to her 😀

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See also spotty bag and patchworky bag 😀 I did well. I must have been good at some point last year… >.< I also landed myself the below, with the plan I think being that I am supposed to use the empty jar to keep Death Toe in when he finally fecks off my foot 😀 Nice….

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The vast vast majority of the day has been spent in nanoblock heaven – I got one for myself, one for little broo and one each for Mum and Dad – matching minions, Kevin and Dave for them!

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Little broo got a rather intense pirate ship – it is a difficulty level five and he has been doing it so far for… six and half hours non-stop haha that is amazing 😀 It isn’t finished… I would estimate he is about two thirds done. I lie – he had about a 40 minute break at one stage. We went through for parent bonding and watched the animation of ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ – one of my Dad’s all time fave books 😉 I struggled from the first minute. A lot of very dangerous business going on in that short film. Babies crawling all over dogs. Parents leaving children unattended for hours. The children buggering off outside in a weird world where the weather changes every five minutes and THE BABY DIDN’T HAVE A HAT ON – a particular bug-bear of mine. And speaking of bears, there was a bloody bear and the film shows the girl giving it a sandwich!!! That is hardly sending a good message to young viewers!! I do not watch tv much and as a few of my friends are aware, when I do, I particularly love arguing with it… This brought out the very worst in me 😀

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I got myself one (partly as I knew little broo would take it very seriously haha) and ooo yeh I found a unicorn 😛 It was awesome – very very very addictive, I have definitely found a new sad git hobby!!! – weather aside: bloody hellfire it is WINDY HERE :O – actually a bit fearful. Yes the house has stood for many centuries in various forms, but what if tonight is the night it flattens me and the cat?? Apparently we have mild snow warnings (unlikely) and JUST into gale force winds outside. Sounds like a flippin hurricane the last few mins!! – so yep. I made the unicorn and it is amazing and I am getting various name suggestions, many of them very rude and I think I am going with Keith 😛

I was surprised at how much fun it was, you don’t really need tweezers but I have shaky fingers and delicate finger ends to contend with so they helped for the small fiddliest bits! The instructions were also manageable – so the unicorn was a level two difficulty hehe and it took me a good wee while, so I reckon little broo will be on his pirate ship for a while!

One of the most awesome things about being back up in Scotland is always seeing Mog. She doesn’t like me anything like as much as she likes my brothers – her fave is bigger broo, but he is away, so she is making do with little broo and snuggled up next to him on the cushion that she is not allowed on – SNITCH WITH PHOTO EVIDENCE!!!! – for many of his nanoblocking hours, just occasionally swiping at him to make sure he remembered she is a cold hard killer… That is how she expresses her love. Also get to use comb-on-a-stick – a long standing member of the family, used out of necessity as she absolutely LOVES getting combed, runs over to you when you tap it on the floor, but then decides every few minutes to go insane and try to eat you mid-combing!

She also flatly refused to have a selfie taken. It was a very painful process involving crawling around on a slate floor, which I shouldn’t really be doing – and the majority of the pictures had me looking like some kind of insane stalker. If either of my brothers had tried this, she would have sat beautifully and done tricks on command. Little shit.

Yes, I am a nut case 😀 Note also the very fluffy new hood. Fave will approve when she sees it 😉 So I think little broo is sodding off tomorrow to go play poker… I am just gonna bimble around trying not to eat too much of Mum’s cheesecake… I am flaring a bit weirdly at the moment and all of my mottling is on fire – I have very cool spiderwebby purple patterns all down my arms, middle of my back… Back of my hands, which always look kinda mottled, but especially so last few days! Been sleeping in mittens etc. and waking up warm, so not too sure why :/ Meh. Liver is deranged so probably just a side effect of that huh! Until they get some kind of epic biopsy to check if it is maybe CPAN, I will just stay at ‘weird undifferentiated small vessel vasculitis with some kind of coagulation problem as well’ forever. Not sure how they are gonna do a biopsy as well with me back on warfarin after Xmas, if they can’t even remove a tunnel line with me anti-coagulated… [oooo gotta go inject myself, thank you brain, good remembering!!] Which reminds me, I got cranberry body shop goodies as well, which I thought was Mum’s idea of a giggle, as I am guessing at the time of purchase I would have not been allowed any cranberry to EAT because of the warfarin, but as it is I currently can (until the 10th!) and I had LOTS with turkey today 😀 I currently smell very good. Just doing a cheeky nanoblock shop… They are so addictive. Don’t start……!!!! Merry Xmas to everyone, hope Santa was good to y’all!

DEATH TOE WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER CHRISTMAS MWOHAHAHA!!!

****WARNING – updated Death Toe pics for a festive treat – baby Death Toe also featured :D**** Frequent flyer! Rituximadoodah Day… (featuring GET THIS BLOODY LINE OUT OF ME!!! – also starring Goodbye Hendricks III!) Helloooooo Christmas with the fams! :D

Since last posting, I’ve had a long, long few weeks of repeated GP appointments for Death Toe, going through my drugs several times to make sure I had everything ordered before Christmas holidays (my normal level of brain fog plus drug importance plus Christmas excitement has made this an epic task!!), working out exactly how weak and feeble I am – and going in and out of the hospital FOUR TIMES!!! That is just LUDICROUS!

Initially it was for a rheumy review for bloods as a pre-check for the rituximab, as mentioned last post. This was on Tuesday 13th… and flagged – for the first time ever that I am aware of – slightly dodgy liver bloods. I had raised ALT levels – ‘elevated liver enzymes’. I have a deranged liver 😛 A little confusingly (both initially for myself at the dawn of blood testing and now for anyone I have mentioned it to (“…have to lay off the sauce then won’t you!”)), this doesn’t mean liver function is impaired, it is more a reflection of generally high levels of muscle damage or inflammation.This could tie in I suppose with how much more stiff and sore I have felt lately – pretty much the worst overall in the last 18 months at least, especially when you factor in the difference the morphine must be making! If this IS the case, amusing (to me anyway!) then it has taken TWO YEARS to finally show up – although I gather that this may actually be fairly normal for bloods to take a whole long time to reflect autoimmune diseases properly for some peeps! The other thought is that this is caused by the medications I am on, because of when it started to show coinciding with two changes to my meds… Omeprazole (tummy protectors increased for the bad silent reflux) and the co-trimoxazole I started after dose one of the rituximab, just before I was discharged from hospital.

SO, the co-trimoxazole was stopped asap, with the plan being that if this didn’t work I would stop the omeprazole next. I then went in that Thursday to get dose TWO! This day got dubbed Rituximadoodahhh Day 😀 For this I went into the Oncology Day unit, a really comfy lovely day ward. The staff are ace, the seats are super comfy… They had footrests lying around…  They re-did all my bloods again and worked out my Gamma GT levels are dodgy as well – basically more liver function business. My tunnel line (Hendricks III) got a serious flush and re-dressed – it needed it, as it had only had me paying it any attention in just over two weeks! TOO LONG!! I got my pre-meds through the line then; another (thankfully much smaller) dose of the devil that made my feet go huge last time (methylpred) and some piriton… These are standard protocol and were just to make sure I didn’t have any kind of serious reaction to the ritux. I was sitting for a good wee while waiting to hear if I was going to get the go-ahead for the ritux despite those liver tests (it got run past Addenbrookes just in case) and I was chirping for joy when I got the thumbs up 😀

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I had a proper little stash of goodies in with me for the day – knitting, a book that I still haven’t managed to start – just can’t handle reading still for nearing on three months for some reason :/ Proper cute little new bag for my knitting that one of the lassies got me for me birthday 😀 Finished off my phone cosy that day with some button goodness – chuffed about having mastered moss stitch!!!

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Last time I had the good stuff, I was discharged the next day and was in a head-spin of giddiness and still recovering from the methylpred and plasma exchange as well… This time, I was knackered and sore and stiff – but not really much more so than normal for me right now! It feels very strange to be so delighted about receiving a drug that is basically poisoning me :/ It essentially destroys a good part of my immune system so I can’t attack myself and having now had dose two, it is to be hoped that by…. the end of Feb definitely, I should be feeling significantly better and HOPEFULLY a lot less digital ischaemia going on… That is the new scary thing. When I started going downhill during my time in hospital, the bit that has remained consistently worse aside from joint and muscle pain, is my stupid bloody fingers. Apart from pinkies and thumbs, all of them on both hands are trying to emulate Death Toe and have CRAP circulation. This is meaning not only shitty capillary refill, but the appearance of tiny little ulcers and bits of damage from NOTHING – invisible papercut type damage that you only realise is there when you TOUCH A LEMON 😦 Or even just put your hand under a tap :/

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The above is absolutely standard now on six of my fingers. It is scaring me, as this is basically how all of the previous six or so digital ulcers have started off; with ischaemic areas, slowly forming ulcers that then get infected.

***UPDATED DEATH TOE PIC BELOW – AND A BABY DEATH TOE PIC!***

I found the below the other day, of Death Toe back in August 😦 It actually made me cry, at this point I was still very naively believing that inadine dressings were enough and not realising quite how out of control the underlying disease was getting. Folks – meet baby Death Toe!!! From this, to absolutely destroyed and no going back within the space of less than three months. Playing the blame game is useless but it is very hard not to when I look at this.

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So yep, this is basically all ‘looking good’ – as weird as that is to say something so gross looks good… As long as it isn’t infected at this stage I basically have to just suck it up and be delighted.  The demarcation line is healthy and neat, there is no sign of infection… I have been given very clear instructions on how to look after Death Toe over xmas as well; I have a huge bag of bits out of the dressing cupboard I was so envious of!! Gloves, gauzes… Simplicity is the key at the moment with the dressings, it is literally a case of a very gentle wipe to remove excess inadine and any ooze, fresh strip of inadine round the whole of the dead area to keep it super dry and then some awesome foamy padding stuff to keep it comfy. I registered as a temporary resident today (in Scotland) at the local GP, so that at the slightest sign of any infection (which I would think I am pretty good at spotting by now…) I can go straight in and get the little git checked over. The space on the form for details of recent admissions, conditions and any current medication was only tiny, which I found hilarious and under advisement have emailed them the whole sordid story, so they know what to do with me if I am found in a Scottish ditch!!

Day three of hospital fun times was the removal of my Hickman line, planned for the following Friday (16th) after the ritux – in between I just had days and days of GP visits for toe dressings and picking up prescriptions. Honestly think there was ONE day that I wasn’t doing something medical. So I went in on Friday… and because of having started the warfarin, my INR level was just too high already, only four full days after starting it! I was a bit cheesed that this wasn’t thought about before me going in (£20 quid there and back for a taxi…) and getting blood tests etc., but basically because I was on warfarin AND fragmin injections still – double anti-coagulation! – my blood was too runny for them to want to do any kind of surgery. I spent a big chunk of the day in the hospital with the upshot being I was sent home and had to stop the warfarin and fragmin asap, and had a little dose of vitamin K on the way out to speed up the clotting! Good news is, because I need the initial INR start up appointment again now to restart the warfarin, it’ll be after Christmas now… So I can have cranberry sauce with my turkey YEAHHHHHH!!! To celebrate with me, listen to my FAVE Christmas song 😛

I have been listening to something a little more classy as well over last week 😉 For anyone who is a fan of Neil Gaiman, or the film Stardust – or who likes audiobooks or radio dramatisations at all, the following is so lovely!! I really liked the film for its storyline, but was always put off by Claire Danes (had never forgiven her for being such a wet fish in Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet) AND by Charlie Cox’s fringe. This radio version is just pure loveliness 🙂 Stardust – Radio Version – AWESOME

I went back in Monday, after a weekend of lots of leafy green veggies to get my blood all sludged up again and… I absolutely bossed it! Or at least, the surgical team did… I went in disgustingly early so they could do my INR bloods again and get bumped in first on the table if it was within an acceptable range and yes, I was clotting enough. Had a bit of a pickle getting bloods taken again – I have awfully fed-up veins as mentioned before from weeks and weeks of hospital, AND I have a blood vessel condition AND I have thick sludge blood!! A very lovely and well-meaning nurse accidentally made a bit of a mess of a desperate attempt to get blood out of my inside wrist, with a whopper of a bruise that was getting more exciting daily for a while! This isn’t a standard blood draw place obviously, but sometimes after six or so tries both the nurses and I get desperate!!

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One of my friends, the vampires, ended up coming to get some blood out of me – being an expert blood sucker, she nailed it first time, opting for the knuckle – again not standard first pick, but seems to work very well for me, despite awful circulation to my hands – go figure!!

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They did full exciting surgery prep – on a table, in a gown, draped, nurses counting the instruments ten times… There was a MASSIVE light above me and it was like having the sun turned on half a metre from your face 😀 Also reckon it would kill you if it suddenly fell and I may have spent quite a lot of time doing a daydream about that scenario and how they would handle the notes… 😛 The Dr doing the (very minor) op said it looks a lot different to the ones they use, because it was put in at Addenbrookes, but despite some initial grumblings, it came out in under 5 seconds, in what I am referring to as ‘the snip and whip’ in the hope that it catches on 😀 It was kinda neat – I had some local anaesthetic, which nips a little bit when you are injected, but then couldn’t feel anything, except when it was actually coming out, I could feel the weirdest slithering pulling sensation 😀 I had one interesting heart blippy moment but it was after the line came out, where I basically missed a few beats for no real reason. That was very weird, because I was plugged into the monitor and had been subconsciously using the beeping of my heartbeat to keep myself calm… and then it was quiet and I was lying there thinking…. ‘erm…. beep????’ 😀 Anyway, no one was overly worried, so possibly it was just how hard they were pressing on me to stop the bleeding that made my heart grumpy for a few beats! Technical medical reasoning. Oh and – yes, the tip has been sent away to check for infection, they said that is absolutely standard protocol and no one has hunted me down yet to throw antibiotics at me. All in all, it was very interesting see the whole pre-surgery procedure outside of a House episode 😄 They count all the equipment sooo many times!! – and in terms of surgeries you could possibly have done, I reckon it must be the easiest and most straight forward and I sincerely hope I don’t ever have to experience anything to tarnish the treasured experience 😉 So that was bye bye Hickmans line – Hendricks III is no longer sticking out of my chest and I can now wash my own hair again 🙂  🙂

My family came down the very next day – or a chunk – one brother is still swanning round South America, staying in some crazy looking backpacker lodge with a POOL and something like 19 other folk for Christmas Day 😀 He said they are doing a proper Christmas dinner regardless. Very good to see littlest sprog though; it has been many months and he has some good stories from his three months! [Ooo have just moved to the kitchen, woodburner has done a much BETTER job at keeping it warm in here 😀 ] Had a day or two of last min packing and a lot of my lovely wimmins dropped round to say toodles before I headed up northwards 🙂 They are awesome. Got to say bye to massive hairy dog as well. I love her!!

Also got Christmas wrapping finished – above is the glitteriest paper ever, reused after receiving the above BEAUTIFUL watercolour from ma Fave – had commissioned her to do it after seeing a doodle ages ago and I got it for a surprise xmas pressie 😀 It nicely finishes off the series of three I had planned. The wrapping paper should also be framed I reckon 😉

Classic Kath-aside: A moment of appreciation please for ‘Peter and Jane’ on facebook – its a blog style page, a teensy weensy bit rude and provides pretty much continual lols! I only recently discovered this and it’s certainly one of the funnier pages I’ve ever found 😄 Peter & Jane facebook page – much hilarity! Lots of Christmas scenarios I am sure a few of us can relate to, much mention of cheese and wine (at least in recent posts haha!) and the comments are usually on form as well (as per highest rated…)!

Anyhoo. I am home now, back up in the northern stronghold, with Mum, Dad and baby broo – and the CAT!! I had nearly forgotten what a noisy little shit she is 😀 She just meows at you continually, in a very conversational kind of way. She is also amazing at playing football with you and I have given her her present of four jingly bouncy ball type things early, as she basically bats them around the kitchen floor very happily for ages, so long as someone kicks it back EXACTLY to her paws.

The only slightly sad bit about the last few days, has been that I have been a horrible little brat. It isn’t so much me being tired. As anyone on pred or with autoimmune things may well relate to, my tiredness comes very suddenly – ‘the floop’ – and I just crash. Until then though, I have pretty tragic insomnia. Having to suddenly tie in with family routine and plans at my house down south, when everyone is getting things ready for xmas was weird and I didn’t deal with it very well, after having just really got used to having hours and hours to myself again. ONE OF US *cough broo cough* had seriously bad jet-lag and was being all sleepy and non-urgent about life and all of those three were also spending serious hours doing work on my new house for me… So there was quite a bit of guilt at play, as well as knowing I had a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it and worrying about how to make sure they knew how much time and effort it was all going to take/taking – e.g. cleaning the fish tank one eve nearly ended me!! When you look at it in comparison, day-to-day I generally do NOTHING physical to be making me so tired and to be in such a shit mood, UNTIL you count the urgent business of letting the rituximab poison my immune system, as my immune system in turn tries desperately to kill my circulation system!! 😀 It just gets massively depressing being feeble and useless and crap all the time :/

I had a few things to do at the Docs, such as a final liver profile test, for which I got the results back today – a little better, but still not great at all :/ so have to get done again once I go back down. Worrying about this, my fingers, whether or not they would get my injection prescription done in time [they did!] and then if they would have the injections in the pharmacy [they didn’t!]… We went hunting for them in town and NOWHERE had them, so had to get prescription faxed to pharmacy here [Scotland] to be delivered and picked up this morning! [Did NOT miss injecting myself, the bruises were only just going 😦 ] But yep – I was being wheelchaired around town by my Mum and broo, which was fun and I got to see human beings and market shops etc, but it was for some reason stupidly exhausting – to the point where trying to handle getting my phone out of my bag, stay supporting myself on my stick and wanting to keep up with Mum for the final bit back to the house was too much for my body and my brain to handle and I had a grumpy sore cry in the middle of the street!! As Fave pointed out, being in a wheelchair doesn’t save you from the mental tired side of dealing with PEOPLE and STUFF and you also get a LOT colder, which for me is bad bad news, as my circulation is already naff and the cold makes all my joints and muscles much more painful – which I had kind of forgotten would happen in a wheelchair!!  – as well as making my fingers try to die a lot faster!  My nose has also started getting – and staying – very cold – what if my nose goes ischaemic and necrotic and dies? 😦  Stupid nose!!

I quite easily and all too often forget how ill I am. Which sounds weird, but I was actually sitting in hospital quite a lot asking my visitors or the staff to confirm that I was really rather ill 😀 I had spent the past two years – to the month really (it being the third Christmas now with some level of toe death happening according to Facebook flashbacks!) – trying to just crack on with life as much as I could. Needing a stick was a bit of a bummer, but I just adapted how I did the pub and gigs – having naps beforehand, factoring in more time to get there… Then I began working from home and reduced my hours… Started getting food deliveries… It was only this summer I started going downhill pretty fast and even then I was in quite epic denial, until probably about the point my toe exploded with guck a few days after being admitted! A fond memory 😉

So Fave sent me the left as a much required reminder to stop being a twit and remember that I am actually allowed to feel crap with all of the drugs and the hospital and the disease in general 😉 Think I will pass on the spending time outside bit though  – it is disgusting out there!! The cartoon on the right is just lovely 😀

Right. Xmas eve tomorrow! (It is technically already tomorrow, but I am ignoring that fact!) That means American style pancakes, bacon and maple syrup for brunch – a weird tradition we started at a cafe one year, when Dad had emergency present shopping to do on Xmas eve (as Dads all round the country commonly do) – and we all loved it. Mum subsequently nailed down the perfect pancake recipe and we have done it every Xmas eve for the last few years!! Gonna go sleep to make sure I am hungry enough to do it justice 😀