Sunday, 12 July 2009


I am very glad of having heaps of interesting books to hand.

For about ten days now I've felt able to read a book. In order to read, I need to be able to concentrate for at least half an hour and take in what is written. I can do that now. I can't read lots, but I can read a bit most days and enjoy it.

On my bad days (Thursday and Friday were Bad Days) I feel no better than I was a month ago. On my good days, I can tell the difference and I know I am a bit better. I am not anywhere near to feeling as well as I thought I felt at end of May, when I went into work two days and triggered the relapse.

Still no test results from the virology lab., but even without a name to put to this it's clear that (1) I'm not well (2) If I do a little too much on a good day, I can expect a couple of bad days will follow (3) I am, albeit slowly, mending and the glands in my neck are less horrible and lumpy, they don't stop being swollen, but there's only been one day last week where they were painful. (I still can't talk much or long, partly my brain gives out, also my voice fades away).

The 4th July was a marker for me, nothing to do with American Independence day. Ages ago I had booked a place on a lace knitting course with Nancy Bush. All along I kept thinking I'd be well by then, it seemed far off. As it got closer I was discovering that feeling a bit better one day is no indication of how I will feel the next. I had to cancel. Then I had to re-think. I can't make plans. If I plan I invite disappointment. I don't know how long this is going to take, but it feels like it's set in for months rather than weeks.

I think I'm on half pay from work now, I don't know which date the full pay rate runs out. I'm glad we have the National Health Service. I'm glad I don't owe money to anyone.

This is what I missed knitting at the Nancy Bush class, an Estonian lace sample shawl, seen here on Freyalyn's blog.
I'll have to get around to designing and knitting my own.

I was hoping to spin the wool for the class as well, I had a go with some merino and learnt a lot, I used too much twist in the yarn so it didn't turn out how I had hoped.

I have been knitting sock heels, not the sock, just a couple of knits in the round and then the heel pattern, from patterns in Nancy Bush's Folk Solks. I started on these in May when I knew I had to choose between a lace knitting class or sock knitting. I've done 4 so far, it's been very useful for learning how sock heels work.

The book I have been reading most is Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox, by Victoria Finlay.
It is a very good book. Very well written. The author went all around the world exploring the history of pigments and where they come from, she had some amazing adventures, went to some incredible places.

The cats are good company. Phoebe alerted us last night to a frog in the kitchen. It must have come under the back door where we need to replace the doorstep. It went hopping around the house, Pheobe followed and helped catch it. She was very puzzled by the hopping. She went one way around the filing cabinet while I waited the other end with a large clear plastic pot (empty yoghurt pot) and a postcard. We caught the frog. It jumped down to the end of the pot with such a bump that the pot shot out of my hand and I had to pick it up again. Much laughter, more puzzled cat. We put it out the back door. Half and hour later it was back. I caught it in the pot again and put it out the front door instead, that worked. I always have the pot and postcard to hand for catching bumble bees, we often have those come in the house.

That's all for now folks. I'm very tired. This has been hard work.

Thanks for all the kind comments and e-mails.


weaverjane said...

hi dorothy, take it easy and don't put yourself under pressure. hope you feel stronger soon
weaverjane in sheffield. We might meet one day!!

Leigh said...

It's good to hear how you're doing. I'm only sorry you aren't feeling better more consistently. Frustrating about no test results.

I would be curious to know how your National Health Service is paid for. Do you have to buy a policy and make payments? Or is it all paid for with tax monies?

I would have loved to see Phoebe help with the frog. Catzee just caught her first shrew. She left it on the back stoop for me and promptly lost interest. :)

Dorothy said...

Hi Jane, your right to identify "pressure" as a problem, the moment I feel a bit better I think of things I "ought" to be doing. Being relaxed is something I have to work at (!) May be I'll get to talk weaving with you in person one day, you're not far away.

Hi Leigh, Phoebe was remarkably good with the frog. I'm glad Annie was not around as Annie would have been focussed on catching the frog herself, but Phoebe wasn't sure how close she wanted to get she just wanted to know what it was and what it was up. She's a darling. We've done a similar routine before when she's lost live mice that have gone under the carpet or furniture.

Re. the NHS, everyone who is working and earning over a certain amount - I think it was £95 per week for the tax year before this one - pays a percentage of earnings, up to a maximum (don't have the figures, my reference books are at work!) called National Insurance Contributions. This money goes towards our welfare benefits system and towards the National Health Service. At least, that's how it was set up. In practice I'm sure the money goes in a pot with the rest of our taxes and then the government decides what it is spending on the National Health Service as part of it's annual budget.

Every British citizen is entitled to free health care, everything from ordinary visits to the doctor and specialist clinics to nursing care for the elderly, maternity care, minor and major operations. Private health care is an option, you can pay if you want to and sometimes if people can afford to they chose to do so because this enables them to "queue jump". I don't approve - it means that the other 99% of the population may wait longer for treatment. Waiting for treatment is the downside of everyone being entitled, but on the whole we all benefit immensely and it's a good use of taxes.

Dentistry is a problem as there is a shortage of NHS dentists (they don't like the paperwork and lower pay) and help for opticians costs has been cut to a minimum. However, you can go to your doctor for NHS help if you have a medical problem with your eyes (rather than just needing spectacles) or something like an infected tooth.

Janet said...

Hi Dot - Patience is the name of the game I guess. Take it easy on yourself and don't push too hard. Your "mystery" health problem sounds a bit like Lyme disease. Hope you gradually feel better.

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
glad you were up to posting again but sorry to hear that you are still struggling Hope the problem is soon diagnosed and treated. At least bad days make you appreciate the good all the more ! Will think of you and send you "Get well " thoughts with love

Helen said...

Judging by my experience of recovering from pneumonia doing small projects for pleasure reading because you want to works fine but it quite a different kettle of fish when you are having to produce something to a deadline I really struggled producing my first workshop in February having been ill in December. My pennyworth is don't push yourself-stop as soon as you feel tired and rest.
I am very glad however that you are having some good days now.and I loved the story of the cat and the frog!

Benita said...

I am so glad to hear you are having good days! And I'm sure that frog was sent your way to give you a good laugh - and you know that laughter is good medicine!

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
Hope you are having more good days !

Life Looms Large said...

I've been thinking of you. I'm so sorry that your illness is taking a long time to pass. It is so frustrating when you think you're feeling better, only to find yourself going backwards again.

I think you're right not to make too many plans or set too many expectations. Otherwise it just gets too disappointing.

Hopefully you can find some small ways to enjoy each day. For me, when I'm not well, I don't prioritize enjoyable things enough and that makes it just that much more blah.

I'm so impressed that you've read a complicated book! I tend to get reduced to reading mindless novels or magazines.

Hope you're getting stronger each day and that you're able to get back to doing all the things you enjoy sooner rather than later!

Take good care! You're in my thoughts!!


Barbara Blundell said...

Thinking of you and hope you're feeling better day by day