In the two months since my diagnosis my husband and son have transformed a generous space of our living room into a haven of comfort for a couch potato…
A folding table on my left holds the telephone and generally does just what you’d expect an ordinary table to do: there are snacks, drinks, letters, papers, more papers… Sometimes neat, sometimes chaotic.
To my immediate right, things get a little more interesting. The very large window sill is home to a provisional bookshelf with many hours’ worth of reading fodder, a lampshade, a box of medicines whose variety and quantities easily compete with those of a small pharmacy. There’s also quite an assortment of office paraphernalia that you’d expect to find in a home office, including PC & printer.
Right in front of me a small cabinet is crowned with a 21” widescreen monitor that also serves as vehicle to feed my addiction to watching crime thrillers (online) on German TV.
And there, right in the middle of it all, reigning over this little two meter radius, you’ll find the lady of the house: I, the Couch Potato. Oh, and I’ve even got a throne! This rather luxurious piece of furniture, a reclining armchair, was given to me on loan by the Friends of the Sick and the Elderly in Gozo (FSEG). It allows me to spend my time in the comfortable surroundings of our living room, rather than lying down in bed all day. .
Like any other charitable organisation, the FSEG depends on the public for help. You never know (I certainly didn’t!) when you might be the one in need of help… so please consider supporting the FSEG by joining their case on Facebook, or by becoming a member or sponsor.
The FSEG’s official website usually contains information about the organisation’s activities; however, it seems to be undergoing an overhaul of sorts at the moment. .
To be continued, one of these days, with: Welcome to my world: (2) My time
Update 22:00 hrs:
After a rainswept morning that looked like it would last for ever, incredibly bright sunshine proceeded to flood my above-described little kingdom. How could I possibly ignore my beloved 5D any longer? So out came the camera, tripod, and extension tube!
Some time ago, while I was preparing the assorted pills that I was about to take, I placed them – without any thought or intention – on the screen of my mobile phone. That’s when the idea came for this shot. I never went ahead with it but kept thinking about it every day! Unfortunately I had to abandon the action after a handful of shots, as bending over the camera to focus proved just as painful as I’d anticipated. But it was a start – and worth it, too!
I don’t know how often I wrote this blog post in my mind – and how often I logged into my WordPress dashboard to actually get down to business, only to close the window again a few minutes later. It’s really all too overwhelming, but I also keep fearing that by writing it all down it becomes all too real.
A few weeks ago I learnt that I was going to lose my job over my illness. For someone who defines herself through her work as I have done, this is the worst she can be told (well, almost the worst, as I’ll explain further on). Consequently, my first reaction was a feeling of total devastation. But knowing that it was work that obviously had brought about my condition in the first place, I decided it was better for me thinking of it as a door closing so another could open.
Okay, whatever, the chapter is practically closed, so I’ll let it rest. Better concentrate on the future…
But… what future? My illness, which still has not been identified, is wreaking havoc with my body. I’m in constant pain; often it is so bad that it leaves me completely incapacitated. (Incidentally, this excruciating pain served as inspiration for the photos in this post - in case you were wondering!) This past week I more or less spent 24/7 lying down. I’ve continued to lose weight, which has now dropped below 50 kg. I do keep forcing myself to eat something every now and then, but in general it only takes the thought of food to make me feel as if I’d just eaten a full four-course meal!
The last straw – or let’s say the one before the last – came with the latest blood test results that I was told about last Wednesday. Apparently two tumor markers are “a little high”. That fact alone does not constitute a diagnose though, which is why I need to have further tests to figure out what’s wrong. I’m waiting to get appointments for MRI of the head and CT scan of the chest (additionally to that bone scan thingy I mentioned a few weeks ago). A couple of years ago I was convinced that the healthcare system in this country really was an excellent one. But then, my knowledge was purely theoretical – now I know better. If you can’t afford private health insurance, your cards are very bad indeed! Maybe this is the way they are trying to ensure the survival of the fittest? Sorry for this pathetic attempt at sarcasm – it’s just that I’ve reached the end of my patience after being ill for half a year, without hope for getting any better any time soon…
I don’t know what I would do without the love I receive from family and friends… that’s really the only thing that still keeping me going. I’m not very good at keeping in touch right now, but I hope that one day I’ll be well enough again to properly show my gratitude for your efforts to brighten my days!
To be fair, not the entire weekend has been murky – but pretty much most of it!
Video-shoot Chasing Pandora
Yesterday morning heavy grey clouds adorned the sky, which seemed a big bummer considering the scheduled shoot of Chasing Pandora’s music video for their new single “People”. But when the shooting started, the sun miraculously had broken through, and remained that way until it was a wrap. (Then, unbelievably, it got all cloudy again!)
Chasing Pandora's videoshoot for 'People'
Contrary to what I expected and what I believe was planned, every extra actually had to lip-sync one short line of the chorus; I wasn’t prepared to be more than just a woman passing by the wayside. Obviously now I’m even more curious to see the finished video!! Of course there’s a chance that they cut out my part in the end… we’ll see! I’d love to play the song for you – it is another great one! – but it is yet to be released. In the meantime, if you’re on facebook, there are some more photos I took during the video-shoot here.
Long exposure shots
Well, I’d been planning on creating – and then showing you – something new in my photography repertoire, but thanks to the said murky weather, that has to wait another week. *sigh* Yesterday I received a neutral density filter I had ordered last week, an ND400 to be exact. Such filters make it possible to take photos with long exposure, even in bright daylight (see some great examples here!). Today it’s been raining on and off – I’m keeping fingers and toes crossed for next weekend!
Update… In the meantime the rain has stopped and I was really dying to try out the filter. So here is my first daylight long exposure shot with a Hoya ND400 filter! During the 20 seconds, I casually walked into the frame and had a seat. Goofy, I know, but fun nonetheless! *grin*
Healthwise I haven’t improved one iota. I keep functioning with a varied diet of different painkillers. Mind you, not all at the same time!! Solpadeine is definitely working best, but it’s also the scariest of the lot. Googling “solpadeine addiction” throws a collection of horrible scenarios at you! I’m extremely careful in that respect and take them only about every other day.
Give us this day our daily bread...
Variety is the spice of life. They say. Hmph!
Once the effect of the painkillers wears off, I’m thrown back to square one. Slowly but surely it’s driving me insane. I haven’t heard back yet from the hospital regarding my physiotherapy appointment. So probably I’ll go for a private one. A friend has given me a telephone number of someone she recommends, and I’ll call tomorrow. But I admit to doubting that this is really the solution to my chronic pain. If only I knew exactly what’s causing this nightmare…
At first I thought it was sort of morbid to blog about this headache saga of mine, but then it struck me that it would make for some interesting documentation, whichever way the story will eventually end.
To recap, I obediently took my course of benzos, and as promised the paracetamol that I was allowed to take as required, actually worked (it doesn’t usually work for any pains I might have, but that might be all in the mind, too!). But that course was over 10 days ago, and nothing has ever changed. This week I am on leave from work (that had been planned), and I honestly expected my headaches to be gone by now. Only they aren’t.
Just now a comment by my friend Lisa on facebook finally pushed me to phone my doctor again; and now I’ll be paying him a visit for blood tests tomorrow morning. (Just when I thought I’d have ONE day to sleep in tsk tsk tsk!). When I told him I’d been thinking of going straight to the hospital he said they wouldn’t keep me in, but rather give me an outpatients appointment in eight weeks’ time. Rosy prospects. I mean, I could be dead by then??
Right now my mood is hitting an extremely low point. I wish I could turn a switch, causing me to quit thinking immediately. But the more I try not to think, the more I do. Figures!
Okay, maybe it’s appropriate to end this silly post with something beautiful. Found this butterfly in the garden this morning, keeping still just long enough to let me have a snap. Isn’t he handsome?
Not much changed; headache perseveres, tranquilisers tranquilise and another week’s gone down the drain. Days are just passing in a hurry as they usually do, only nowadays I’ve got little to show for it. Most of the time I spend trying to remember what I was just about to do. This week I stayed home for one day but that didn’t help any either, so i went back to work the next day. And I am worried that that pain is indeed not all in the mind… I don’t believe it’s allergies, either, as some of my friends suggested.
My biggest worry is to have to spend time in a hospital. No matter what they would find, the thought of spending any length of time among moaning and groaning people – really ill people – gives me the creeps!
The day I stayed home I spent half slouching on the sofa, and half venturing into the garden catching lizards. So at least my photographic instincts are still up to scratch…
For starters, here’s the beautiful song whose title I used for this post, to set the mood:
Yesterday my son spent a few hours at home with his Ibanez guitar, a very photogenic piece, which I happily hijacked with my camera. (All shots taken with extension tube, hence the extremely shallow DOF.)
OK, I promise, this is the last one for today! Wish y’all a happy Sunday!
I’m taking Sopadeine Plus for my headache, which makes me kinda high… Maybe that’s where all the lyrics in my head are coming from?
As I said, I was relaxing this weekend, but also took a ton of photos (which, by the way, helps me relax!). Hubby was in Malta yesterday and brought home two huge tubs of strawberries. They’re my favourite fruits – have always been my favourites, for as long as I can remember!
Yet another post is coming up – and after that, I guess, I’ll leave you in peace for at least a week!!
Today I shall more than make up for yesterday’s photo-deprived post! That photo-shoot turned out slightly chaotic, bordering on comedy even. The original intention was to give that extension tube some more work to do, nailing little critters and tiny flowers in the garden.
In the beginning all went according to plan. The first one is just a gimmick in celebration of my wedding ring finally returning to its rightful place this week. (It had been cut off when I broke my wrist last year.)
Then I spotted this baby lizard (well, I think it was a baby – it really was small!) that kept watching my comings and goings from the little drain hole of a flowerpot. I started talking to ‘him’ (how do you determine the gender of a lizard??); I called him Joey. So Joey actually started a game of peek-a-boo with me (that’s where the comedy part came in)! With incredible patience (if there’s anything that I’m not, it’s patient!) I moved my gear closer in teeny-weeny stop-motion movements, which Joey observed with bemused interest, always ready to duck back into his lair when he thought I got too close too quickly.
And then… I abandoned Joey in favour of this awesome discovery that had been there right under my nose. Last autumn another stray had made our garden her new home. I had blogged about her arrival; well at the time I actually thought it was a male and named ‘him’ Bully (I’m really terrific at guessing animals’ genders!)
OK, so he’s a she, a very skinny little thing with a cleft between nose and mouth, which seems to give her trouble breathing and eating. Honestly, we didn’t think she’d survive for long. But not only did she survive; she also contributed to the survival of her family tree!
We had an idea that she was pregnant, though she wasn’t exactly huge, just her usual skinny self with a little bulge in her tummy. A week or two ago, she suddenly made herself rare and was only seen at mealtimes, appearing much, much thinner than usual. Until yesterday: she took up residence in an old carton box in a sheltered space under the stairs leading to our roof – and brought her little family ‘home’!
…with bees! Photography is my favourite remedy for boredom, stress, or just generally feeling “down”. For the past few days I’ve felt all of that; , so it was only a matter of time that I’d start shooting. Work is a little overwhelming right now, but forgetting to send a birthday card reach my dad in time, was the final straw to send me into a mild depression.
Today is the first sunny Good Friday in decades, if my memory serves me right. I took my coffee out in the garden and immediately noticed the buzz all around me. So I dug out the extension tube I’d bought ages ago and almost left to rot. Nailing the busy buzzers proved to be quite a challenge; the time it took to focus seemed about the same as a bee needs to sit on a flower… But a few shots turned out just right.
After the garden photoshoot I had a nice long chat on the phone with my dad, and I can honestly say I feel much better now than when I did when I first woke up this morning. This afternoon I’m going to the Good Friday procession in Victoria to finally start documenting the various Holy Week traditions, something I’ve been wanting to do for many years. So I reckon I’ll be back with more pictures soon!
Happens every year on the first day of winter time… I wake up way too early! But it’s a very beautiful day to wake up to: sunshine, hardly any wind left. And so I didn’t keep grumbling about lost beauty sleep but took a little morning stroll in the garden instead.
The new boy in town; this time it is a male, and he’s asserting himself as a little tyrant among the two girls. I’ve started calling him Bully…(see note below this post!!)
Never mind that stupid photo - gimme foooood!
Bully playing hide-and-seek...
...and checking out his new terrain
Then I found yet another “new boy” – or perhaps girl. In the absence of morning dew (that figures, doesn’t it? – me out and about early in the garden, and no dew. Tsk tsk tsk…) I resorted to the gentle squeeze on my water spray bottle. Yes, I admit, I’m ashamed. And it almost backfired, too: poor spider thought it was raining and escaped to the nearby lair it had built in a leaf… and it was moving damn fast!
Gotta get outta here!
Water droplets on spider web
And there’s still colour to be found in our garden!
Rose in neighbour's garden
and another one
And I almost forgot our olives!!
Olives, not apples!
Have a happy Sunday!
Note: I was absolutely certain that Bully was a male because of ‘his’ swaggering kind of walk… I seem to be a hopeless case in this respect, because he turned out to be a female, too. *blush*