Saturday, April 11, 2009

For Sale: One Memory, Flawed But Perfect!

My flawed but perfect memory forgets to remember to remind me to take my medications on time, indeed, it cannot always confirm whether or not I have taken them at all. Sometimes I don't take them because I think I have already, even when I haven't. It's not advisable to double up on the dosage as they have a tendency to make me drowsy.

Something else which really annoys me is the fact that having gone to so much trouble to make beautiful greeting cards for my friends I forget to photograph them or scan them into the computer. Some of the bespoke cards, ie made to measure according to special requests are quite special indeed and I need to keep a record of them, so why don't I remember to scan them in? It is so disappointing not to be able to show off the result of all my hours of hard work, slaving over a few bits of paper, ribbon and rubber!!! Not only that, how on earth am I expected to remember what I've done for whom, let alone replicate anything...
My Favourite Wedding Stamp

According to my friend this is undoubtedly because I don't want to take the tablets in the first place. He is of course correct in this assumption, but not because I don't want to take the tablets, rather because I hope one day that it'll no longer be necessary to take the bloody things because I will be fit and healthy and not need them anyway!

At times, when my serum plasma levels are up where they should be (ie when all the drugs floating in my blood stream are at the correct concentrations) I do feel well. This is generally accompanied with several early nights, gentle exercise and an anti-epileptic drug which not only reduces my pain levels but allows me to dream. Occasionally I don't take this drug, as I don't like to feel zonked and this is one of the side effects, as is inordinate weight gain.

I'm often asked by friends and acquaintances, and also those with whom I am barely acquainted, if I'm still working. Not that it is any of their business, but no I am not. I haven't worked in my former occupation as a Clinical Nurse Manager for three years, not because I haven't wanted to, but simply because I haven't been able too. But, that is none of their business so I simply reply that I am taking a well deserved break and that I'm not sure when I'll return.

I used to feel so guilty about not being at work. I used to feel so bad about deserting my colleagues, in favour of looking after myself. I used to sit and cry, but now I don't. I have made careful adjustments to my lifestyle and have adapted. I know for the main part what my limitations are and try to work within them, for example if I go on a hike at the weekend I realise that I will be exhausted for the first three days of the following week and so I try not to arrange anything much for those three days!

While this is anything other than good, in another way it is good. I can presently allow myself the time and space that I need to facilitate a lifestyle that I was always too busy or tired to pursue. Oh! You mean having interests outside of work? Yeah! Once upon a time I used to believe that I worked to live, only to discover the real truth through painful (literally) experience: I did in fact live to work...
Birthday Card For Sister In Law

Unbeknown to myself, I was doing just that. My whole life was put on hold and from the date of my cousins wedding, approximately five years ago this had become a permanent feature on my waning lifestyle front. That evening I could barely stand up, let alone dance! I was wearing my favourite pair of faux suede black heels and an enviable sized 10 Spanish style satin skirt paired with a beautiful velvet corset top that I can only dream about wearing nowadays.

I was violently ill and mortified as my sister in law kindly insisted on aiding me during my hour of need. Oblivious to my polite protestation she helped me back to life and stuck with me through thick and thin, days later I returned to work but never to my previous life. After that things got progressively worse; the pain in my feet spreading to affect my hands and wrists, my knees, shoulders, pelvis, neck and scalp.

I had never really been ill until this point in my life. A while later I began to realise that I was tired all the time, it was the kind of tiredness which couldn't be relieved by sleep or rest, no matter how hard I tried! Later still, insomnia of a different type affected my life. For the previous three years I had been affected by transient insomnia lasting for a month or so at the beginning of the year and also in the Autumn. This time it became a permanent fixture in my life, one which has remained to this day, untreated the effects on my body became more noticeable as sleep deprivation took its toll.

My memory was affected, I was lethargic, listless, miserable and unable to cope. Despite physiotherapy and the support of my co-workers things went from bad to worse until one day a senior colleague and friend sent me home with instructions not to go back until things had resolved. How little did I know that this would involve a three year absence and a total change in my quality of life and lifestyle.

Months later while speaking with colleagues, they expressed surprise as to how unwell I had actually been while continuing to work alongside them. I had noticed the change in my productivity, but thankfully they had not.

Thank God for my friend and for a condition which has forced me to sit back and realise what is truly important in life...

Polly Pierce
Vinca Cards

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