…’cos I just didn’t have anything better to do. I felt pretty good this morning – after having slept rather well last night, 7 hours in one piece! – but not strong enough to venture out into the world with my camera. Being thoroughly fed up of exclusively shooting cats, I chased around for some other subject. And found these shadows…
You are currently browsing the archives for August, 2010.
I had written a long blog post about my aches and pains and my occasional surrender to a couple of Panadol. Then I deleted the whole bloody post again because deep down I know that you don’t really want to know. Suffice it to say nothing has changed at all, but at least I have an appointment with a rheumatologist in 2 weeks’ time. Yeah, that says a lot about the dismal state of health care in Gozo… I’m trying to see these two weeks in perspective to my nearly five months of suffering. I tell ya, it’s so damn hard not to resort to cynicism!
Tonight there is going to be a ‘healing service’ in our Church square, just metres away from my home . The announcement in last week’s bulletin somehow caught my eye, and I’ve been thinking about it every day. That’s rather strange as I don’t actually believe it works. Some time ago I saw something on a local TV station about these services given by “Dr John” and all I could think about was the cult-like taste it had to it. And yet… I can’t help thinking about how apt the timing is. Probably goes to show how ready I am for a miracle! Which, I must stress, I’m way too cynic to believe in happening. I admit sometimes it sucks to be me…
On the other hand, there are things that still manage to pull my attention away from my own misery and put things into perspective. My friend Lisa, who I’d finally met in person in Munich last month, is just now having a tough time after her routine mammography last week showed up a calcification that needed checking out. She was supposed to receive the results yesterday but then was put on hold until Monday as further tests became necessary. Lisa still doesn’t know whether it’s all good or bad, and frankly, if I was in her shoes it would freak me out.
Honey, I’m thinking of you, Jenna and Keith, and sending sunshine and lots of virtual hugs for you all across the ocean! I hope that by Monday the spook will be over and you can get on with your lives! xxx
Posted on August 28, 2010 - 1:26 pm. 3 comments
It’s been an eternity since I last took photos, so I took advantage of waking up so dreadfully early and spent some time in the garden before the sun started creeping over the wall. I fed the cats – I think they were very surprised to see me out so early! – walked a bit around and finally sat down, waiting for an opportunity to “shoot” them. Came up almost empty-handed though, they only ever pose when I’m not armed with a camera! And it was already sooo bloody hot that even just sitting there motionless, the sweat started running down my face… Can’t wait for autumn to arrive!
Ok, change of subject. After my post of last weekend three people suggested – independently from each other – that my symptoms might be those of fibromyalgia (FM). As you can imagine I proceeded to soak up everything related to this condition via google. If that is really what I have (I have not been diagnosed yet), it’s good news because it isn’t life-threatening, and bad news as it cannot be cured. Mind you, I don’t have all the symptoms; one of the defining criteria, the ‘painful response to pressure’ , is mostly absent, and even with the shortage of sleep that I’ve had I can’t really say that fatigue is part of my symptoms. I do usually get really tired after lunch-time but that is no surprise, is it?
I went back to my GP on Monday and told him what I’d learnt about FM. I went home with a bottle of Nortrilen (Nortriptyline), which is – once again – an antidepressant, which is often prescribed for fibromyalgia patients. So far it hasn’t done anything, either good or bad… patience is the name of the game. Which, as you probably know by now, is something I don’t have at the best of times – and these times are really, really not my best! *sigh* This morning my doctor phoned me to inform me that the blood tests of last Monday had come all back “totally normal”. Also, he is going to make contact with a rheumatologist, who is specializing in the field of FM and whose name I’d been given by someone diagnosed with it, over in Malta. I wish things would move faster; I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to deal with this permanent feeling of having been run over by a semitrailer…
Posted on August 21, 2010 - 5:37 pm. 3 comments
It’s all I can do right now: wondering if I’ll ever return to a “normal” life. I’m not asking much, just sleeping without interruption; waking up refreshed and full of energy; the absence of pain…
This past week has been a particularly bad one. I guess the culprit was my 14 hour duty manager shift last Sunday. That was an exertion from which I just didn’t manage to bounce back, even though I was off the following Monday. The headaches – sometimes better, sometimes worse – are accompanying muscle pains in my left leg, left upper arm, right hip and right chest. Once I sit down, I have trouble getting up again. Walking up the stairs from the kitchen to the bedroom makes me wince, as does lying down to sleep – and getting up again – and my nights are split up in short exhausted bursts of sleep, interrupted by more pain.
This week I’ve contemplated seeing a doctor every single morning, but each time his last words to me rang in my ears, “I really don’t know any more what to do with you.” So I saved myself the aggravation of being seen as a querulous patient who has nothing better to do than getting on his nerves.
After I’ve lived more years in Gozo than in Berlin, I’m finally seriously questioning my wisdom of moving here. I mean, forget about my rants over the years about this island’s little quirks, because they are nothing compared to what I’m experiencing now.
In my work back in Berlin I used to be surrounded by specialists in all areas, and I knew first-hand how people with all sorts of symptoms of “unclear origin” were systematically put through whole batteries of tests until a diagnosis was reached – or eliminated. Sometimes, while writing the medical reports, I would feel sorry for them, wondering whether it was really necessary to subject them to all those tests… Well. I know better now, don’t I? As silly as it may sound, but I don’t think that here in Gozo I stand a chance of getting any better. Right now, I sure wish I could turn back the time to have the chance to be put through the mill. On the other hand, I can’t help doubting that I would have found myself in this situation in the first place. At least as far as I remember, work and leisure were far more balanced in Germany than they are over here…
Quality of life. Ha! Search the internet for chronic pain conditions and that term crops up everywhere as an important factor in the treatment of such syndromes. Funnily enough, being able to live in Gozo for many foreigners is seen as the epitome of superior quality of life. Hell, I used to believe that myself – but I’ve changed my mind.
Posted on August 14, 2010 - 9:41 am. 5 comments
Like Bees to Honey
Like Bees to Honey is the title of Caroline Smailes’s new book – and it’s all about Malta! You may remember Caroline’s sad stories In Search of Adam; and Black Boxes. Well, this one is different; it is a very positive and enchanting tale – but it has all the tell-tale signs of Caroline’s totally unique style. Which I just love! I bought Like Bees to Honey a week ago here in Gozo, couldn’t believe seeing it on sale in Gozo! However, I only started reading a little of the first chapter – and it’s not Caroline’s fault I put it down again. Actually it had drawn me right in, but I still have trouble sitting still for long stretches, which is why for instance this blog post has already taken me two days to write. But what’s even more disconcerting is, reading (even with my glasses on!) makes my headaches worse (for this old bookworm that’s a disaster!). But it is on my immediate to do list, and when I’m done I’ll tell you more!
Incidentally, Caroline was just in Malta on a book tour. She toured several Agenda bookshops, which I found out from the news on TV… What a bummer! I certainly would have made an effort to meet her in Malta, had I only known before. *sigh*
Gotta Go To Gozo
At the last count there were almost five hundred people that call themselves my “friends” on facebook. Yet I can’t seem to get even one tenth of those to vote for the photos I submitted to Arkadia’s photo competition, Gotta Go To Gozo. (However there are a few real friends who put so much effort into helping me that I don’t know how to thank them!!)
It’s a drag, especially as I’m one of the worst sales persons you could imagine, spamming other people just makes me cringe… But unfortunately that’s the way this competition works.
So, I’m not giving up just yet! Perhaps with a little perseverance I’ll reach at least the ‘Top 20′. If you’re on Facebook please do click the above image and vote for it. It’s pain-free and doesn’t cost anything. You can vote for my other photos, too, if you like (see my previous post), but this image has received most votes so far – and it is actually my favourite, so I might as well concentrate my efforts on this one pic… Thank you if you do vote, and don’t worry if you don’t: I wouldn’t know either way!
Today is Sunday; to me that means the calm before the storm. Tomorrow I’ll have to start “functioning” normally again, and I’m rather worried about it. I’ve had two weeks off from work, to go to Munich and then another week to recover from everything, including my earlier ordeals. Only the recovering part hasn’t really worked out as expected. I still have headaches every day and night, though there are a few hours scattered throughout the day that are better than other times. The muscle pains are what really worry me, they just won’t let up and keep waking me every two hours at night. On two occasions I took a couple of Panadols in the middle of the night, which helped a little but not much. Is all this still rebound pain after my painkiller troubles – or is something else at work here?
And then there’s the weight loss; my stomach seems to have shrunk in the past few months. So I’m eating lots of little “meals” throughout the day, even chocolate and other sweets sometimes, but for the life of me I just can’t get back up beyond the 53 kg mark.
After successfully dealing with the earth-shattering realisation that I was addicted to painkillers, I didn’t expect this whole story to drag into August – but that’s what it did, and no end is in sight. I’m really at a loss here…