My boy goes back to school tomorrow.

It’s been quite an extended school holiday for jack. With the move, coupled with the bad time of the year to do that when it comes to school, he has been off school for 11 weeks. I could say “yippee”, crack open a bottle of some highly intoxicating beverage, and celebrate, but it has never really been the case with me and Jack. I love having him around, most of the time. Yes, he drives me crazy at times, you show me a child that doesn’t drive their parents wild at times. But, I will feel this great emptiness tomorrow, after I leave him at school in the morning. I always do.

I will come home, and it will be quiet. It will feel like something is missing. I won’t be constantly nagged “Daddy, daddy, daddy”, every 5 minutes with some new discovery or just mundane little thing, but I will miss it. I think, the fact that this time around, having been such a big break, it will be worse.

In some ways, I am looking at this first week as a circuit breaker. So much has happened in the past 4 months, that I am really worn to bits. Today, I collapsed into bed at 2.30pm, exhausted. If not for a few last minute things I needed to do for Jack, like a quick trim of his hair, and make sure he went to bed at the proper time (not that I doubt mum would have made sure anyhow), I probably would have forgone dinner, and slept until the morning. It’s not that I worked my backside off today, but it is the accumulation of everything, now coming to a head. I said to Mum an hour ago that I am likely going to spend a lot of this first week of Jack back at school in bed, asleep.

The worst thing about having woken up to make sure things went as they should, is that I awoke a zombie. Then, after getting out of the fog that was enveloping my head, I have then struggled to get back into sleep mode, even though I am dog tired.

I did do a few things today, I mowed the lawn, which is not a huge job, half an hour and it’s done. I also went and picked up some seedlings of some pink desert roses, they were 50 cents each, so I got six. They will be great statement plants when they end up where they will be planted and have grown. Pretty, and pretty hardy as well.

So, in a few hours, I will have to be up, make school lunch, and get the boy off to school. Back to the regular routine, sort of, finally.

Andy.

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I don’t know what I’m doing….

Living with this crappy ailment means half the time, I don’t know what I am doing. Ground down by pain and overwhelmed by fatigue, you lose your mind. I can get up whilst thinking about what I am about to do, like go and make a drink, or hang the washing out, and by the time I have walked the 3 metres from one side of my bedroom to the door, I will be wondering what it was that I had got up to do. It’s absolutely crazy.

If I get distracted, by something else, or someone suddenly talking to me, that’s it, it will take ages to remember what it was I was up to again. I know now that it’s all fibromyalgia related, at first I was really concerned I was getting dementia real fast or something, but then when I had a better patch with the fibro, it got better again.

I have had a really weird day today. Plans thrown out the window, firstly, because of the weather, we were going to a market, been planned for the past week, but now we are under a tropical storm, that has dumped nearly half a metre of rain on us in the past 36 hours. So, we could drive a couple of hundred km’s to get there, as the direct, 30 km route is too dangerous in this weather, it is very mountainous, very narrow and winding, and very prone to landslides with heavy rain. The prospect of driving all that way, although I was excited to go to the market, was not exciting at all.

So, I spent, and wasted 2 hours this morning waiting for a bloke to come and buy my trailer, who never ended up showing up (the second one now), then he organised to come this afternoon after 4 pm. He still never showed up, and now wants me to wait until next week. Then he might not still buy it. What is wrong with people ??? We decided after the morning debacle, to head out anyway, but closer to home, not half a days driving.

We went to a few Op Shops, which was productive, we got a few things we were looking for, and then went to Bunnings for some stuff to finish off the kitchen renovation. Then, I treated mum to lunch, and we wandered around the shopping mall for a bit, got a few other things we needed, then headed home to be back in time for the chap who never showed up.

We pottered around this afternoon when we got back, I contacted another potential buyer of the trailer, who is just as fickle as the previous two I have discovered, put the last 2 handles on the new kitchen cabinets, tidied up my tools which were spread everywhere, cooked some steak for dinner, and now, I am just about ready for bed.

We have had so much rain, it’s incredible. While driving around today, it was torrential. In some ways, it was time to come home when we did, with basically rain so heavy that even on well drained roads the water was at least 2 inches deep, and with even deeper puddles where the rain was frantically trying to get away, it was exhausting. You have to be on your toes when it’s that wet, especially with so many lousy drivers out as well. Since I started writing this 20 minutes ago, we have had 25 mm of rain, or about an inch. I told you the rain is heavy.

It’s actually funny. Last night, I went to bed at this time, and we have basically got exactly the same amount of rain as the same time last night. This time last night we had had 189.3 mm, today, up to now we have had 186.9 mm. The rain is supposed to be like this for a few more days, and it is currently being slated by those in the know to be the biggest rainfall event in over 2 decades. Crazy, the first few months we have been here, we have had the highest daily temperature ever recorded here, and now we are experiencing the wettest period in over 2 decades.

The past couple of days have also been tough. Every time we have gone out, and then returned home, we have been expecting to let Smudge out after being inside in the air-conditioning to do her business, but she is not here. Same in the mornings when we get up. You get so used to having a pet around, I mean, 17 years is a long time, that it is all the regular things you do automatically that catch you off guard. I am sure it will be some time before we get past this, she was such an amazing little dog. Gee I miss her.

Andy.

Hmmm.

Feeling so wrecked for the past few days has been very difficult. I have somehow managed to drag myself through the day, even though I am sleeping poorly because of the fibromayalgia pain. It is so damned frustrating not being able to get comfortable in bed to sleep, you lie one way, your hip hurts, you lie another way, your shoulders hurt, or lying on your back, which doesn’t feel right to me, makes everything hurt. It’s matter of picking the least painful position to sleep and then hope you get some.

When I am like this, I feel a complete failure. That is the source of the related depression. You just can’t do anything. I feel like I am failing Jack, failing myself, just………, failure.

I hate it when I have stuff mapped out and planned, only to have this hit me, and then it’s just a huge game of catch up for weeks until I get to a point where I can make headway with the tasks I have underway. Sometimes, well lot’s of times, MOST OF THE TIME, I don’t even get caught up before it hits again, so I have this snowball affect happening, where everything I have going on just gets put on the back burner and gets further and further behind.

I hate how I, at 41, am in such a state, that I need to live at home with my mother again. Don’t get me wrong, it is easier knowing that when I am as bad as I am right now that there is someone around to help, but it does suck it out of you knowing that you just can’t manage completely on your own anymore. I will admit it, I’m man enough, it makes me cry at night.

Today we had to go shopping. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be eating. Mum doesn’t drive, so I had do that. Well, we went out at around 10.30am, and got back around 2pm, we had our new floor tiles delivered this morning, so couldn’t go earlier. The later in the day, the more mammoth the task gets for me. Just driving up to the shops 15 kilometres away is arduous when I am like this.

Then, dealing with all the sensory overload while out just makes it worse. We stopped in at a fake plant place because mum wanted to see what they were like, and as soon as I went into this small, overcrowded with stock shop, and with the smell of stale human urine, I needed top get out, so I went out and waited beside the noisy, busy road, to have a smoke, as the claustrophobic feeling was one thing, but the stink was just too much.

After we went there, we went to the shopping mall, where we got a frozen drink to keep us going until we got home, and the noise was unbearable in the food court, as I guess, and from experience, all food courts in shopping malls are. Mum wanted to sit down but I was clearly not coping with it, so I said I didn’t want to, and walked around with our frozen drinks while we did the rest of the grocery shopping. They had some very noisy (and pointless) performance (you know, some dance school exploiting very young girls to make more money, while plastering the young girls in make up that looks good on nobody) on in the centre of the mall, which really didn’t help either. After we managed to get the groceries in the trolley, we ended up with the worlds slowest checkout operator, it felt like I aged 50 years while the transaction took place. What should have been about a 20 minute grocery shopping experience took 40 minutes, yes, that is how slow the operator was. I mean, I had 3 bags of groceries (well, if I packed it, it would have been just 2 bags…).

After we got home, we had a late lunch, I flopped onto the couch, and tried to interact with the rest of the family watching a movie on blu-ray, I was too wired from the outing, but too tired to move. I was bored crazy, even though it was a movie I actually enjoy, I was just too tired and not focused enough to actually enjoy it this afternoon.

When Mum, Dad and Jack took the dog for a walk this afternoon, I went outside and watered the garden, I just had to do something where I felt like I had actually achieved something. Doing the shopping I guess was an achievement, but actually doing something other than that mundane task was what I needed. Even watering the garden was tiring, but at least it means the garden will keep growing, and I will be able to enjoy it when it does.

Anyhow, I need to go to bed, I dread it at the same time as yearning for it, I need it because I need sleep, but I dread the almost certain possibility that tonight will just be another crappy night of sleep.

Andy.

 

Barely.

Last night I knew things were going down hill. For a few days I had been getting some of the tell tale symptoms that I was crashing. I kept on getting very windy, which nearly always precedes a flare up of Fibromyalgia for me, but it was coming and going for the last few days without anything progressing further. My fatigue levels had been in the upper end end of the 1 to 10 scale, for weeks, but have been even worse this past week. And the pain has been waxing and waning as well, but a gradual overall increase has been the trend.

After dinner last night, everything started to hit, except a rise in the pain, which hasn’t fallen below about a 6 on the 1 to 10 scale for weeks. The fatigue hit me like a truck, I mean, I was feeling okay one minute, the next it was almost all over red rover. I have been getting increasingly unsteady on my feet in recent days, but last night it was one step forwards, 3 steps sideways until I crashed into something, the wall, a chair, the door….. It’s almost like I feel like I am going to pass out.

Nausea, oh so much fun. I eat a delicious meal, not at all rich or spicy, just tasty normal food, and then it comes like a wave. My left hand has started to drop shit all the time again, which is the hangover from the stroke, as the fatigue gets worse, my ability to cope with it all slides. When I am okay, you wouldn’t even know I’d had a stroke, but when I get heavily tired, then it just all falls apart. Last night, as I was doing the dishes, I dropped a plastic container into the sink of water, it splashed on me, and I just got so annoyed and frustrated that I yelled at my hand to settle down, and almost felt like ripping it off.

I am just frustrated and annoyed this is happening. I try my best to stay positive about it all most of the time, but today, I was completely written off, pain, fatigue, everything, and for the first time for a bit, I have found myself monstrously depressed about it, and feel like completely giving up. This afternoon, I popped out the front for a cigarette, and was staring off into nothing, and just thought that I felt like I wanted to just soldier on until I keeled over, and then it would be all over. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, it is just too much to deal with right now. I can’t enjoy anything. I can’t sleep well because of pain, I am always dead tired, I can’t eat anything without feeling nausea, or if that doesn’t happen I get IBS and farty as well, I can’t concentrate on anything much, I sit and watch TV, hoping to be able to take my mind off it, but sitting down hurts. Lying down hurts. Standing up hurts. I reckon that if I was in space, floating around would hurt.

I so much want to do things, but just can’t do anything. I tried to sleep today, but it was hopeless. I just couldn’t get comfortable. If it wasn’t great pain in my hip, it was in my neck, or one of my shoulders. My feet were just throbbing with pain. My forearms aching. I feel like screaming.

Well, for now, I will go and have a shower and try to sleep once again. I have dosed up on pills, trying in vain to reduce the pain to a bearable level, so I guess I know tonight is going to be hell, I have resigned myself to that.

Andy.

Watching the storms.

Yesterday we had a pretty impressive storm outbreak, brought on by the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Penny. After lunch, Jack and I went off for a little drive, as the sky was looking menacing to the south and west of our place, and, of course, my favourite photographic subject is storms.

We headed a little east and north of home, trying to get a good vantage point of the storms across open ground looking back towards Walsh’s Pyramid, away from power lines and any other man made structure that wasn’t photogenic. It’s hard trying to get a good landscape shot without power lines, and I hate power lines. We sort of left our run too late, as we found a spot, and the storm was really advancing towards us very quickly. I did get a couple of shots, not lightning, the ultimate goal, but the storm was menacing.

This was taken not long after we got out of the car. The sun was still illuminating the foreground. That is Walsh’s Pyramid, the pyramid shaped mountain on the left. The foreground is a sugar cane field in fallow.

gordonvale jan 2018 001

Only a few moments later and the sun was rapidly vanishing, and so was Walsh’s Pyramid !!!

gordonvale jan 2018 006

This was the view to the west of our location, which was at a place called Packer’s Camp., a very turbulent sky indeed. The wind was astonishing as it came over. Under that rain on the left is where we live. There is a mountain about 900 metres above sea level in that rain.

gordonvale jan 2018 009

As the cloud front came upon us, this was the view of the sky to the north. Amazingly blue, with the menacing blackness over our heads.

gordonvale jan 2018 012

We quickly decided that staying out, trying to find a better location to get more shots was a daft idea, the wind was gusting very strongly, buffeting my little car very noticeably. And the rain, it was almost impossible to drive. The water was accumulating on the road so quickly (and these roads are made to cope with a big deluge and drain well), that it was like driving through a pond, the water was 3 or 4 inches deep just from what was falling from the sky.

After a slightly nerve wracking drive the 10 kilometres home, we pulled up in the carport, went out the back verandah, and found 2 inches of water across the rear verandah, it was raining so hard that the drain couldn’t get it away quickly enough. I ended up going out in the rain with the shovel, and dug a trench about 3 inches deep to get the water to flow away down the slope, it was raining so hard, just 10 seconds out in the rain meant you were drenched right through, and the rain was cold !! The trench worked rapidly, and it drained off, even while it was still pouring down. We ended up with 60mm of rain in the space of 30 minutes. in the old scale, that’s probably a bit over 2 inches. In 30 minutes.

Later in the evening, we had a round 2, with lightning flashing intermittently to the west and east. I went out by myself after Jack went to bed, but didn’t capture anything worth sharing. It was nice to see some lightning return after a couple of weeks of nothing.


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Today, it has rained a bit, we’ve had about an inch of rain again, but nothing as spectacular as yesterday. We woke this morning to a bit of a disaster from our elderly dog, we have to contain her during the night in a playpen, so she doesn’t do her business all over the house during the night, we have a tarpaulin under it so if she does anything, it goes on it, and not the floor, and we just take that out to wash it off and clean it. She is very old, nearly 17 years old, and a Jack Russell, she is an awesome dog, but just getting a little incontinent. Dogs, or any pet for that matter, are for life, and you just have to take that getting old will happen.

The disaster was her best yet though. It was contained, but all over the tarp, her bed and bedding, her, it was just full on, and it stank so bad. Even when it was all cleaned up, the smell lingered, and we sprayed every version of room deodoriser we have around. Some just made it worse, as their scent, mixed with, well, the smell of shit, was more revolting than the smell of the shit on it’s own. I know, it’s hard to imagine air freshener making it worse, but trust me, it did. I ended up going over the entire floor, even though it wasn’t on the floor, with a very strong bleach and water solution with the mop, and after that, the smell was gone. I think the bleach dissipating into the air actually killed the smell that was lingering. Tonight, you wouldn’t even know there was such a mess this morning.

My fatigue really is a problem right now. It just doesn’t seem to want to subside. The pain is going from uncomfortable to bad on a roller coaster over the days, today wasn’t so bad on the pain front, but then I have had all sorts of gut issues, and nausea. This fibromyalgia is just sooooo fun !!!

It wears you down.

Andy.

Having wins when losing

The fatigue and pain have driven me into being very absent minded at times recently. I had a spell late 2017/early 2018 when I thought I was losing my mind, so forgetful and just felt like I was going crazy. This isn’t quite as bad, yet, but it is certainly disconcerting to be going through it all again. I also have moments during the bad patches of fatigue where I start slurring, the result of a slight stroke a few years back, when the hospital put it down as a “migraine”, and then a week later they discovered, after I went back with another excruciating “migraine” that my blood pressure was through the roof and I should have been having either a heart attack or a stroke.  They never actually tested me to see if I was, but gave me pills to bring my blood pressure down quickly. The slurring is just one thing, I also tend to let go of things unexpectedly with my left hand and my left foot drags when the fatigue gets bad as well. Oh, what a barrel of laughs my life is !! At least I can say it’s not dull !!!

Today I had a pretty major win, I still had to get school shirts for Jack, like, the ones with the school logo on them, as that is the requirement. I went on a whim to town (well, I needed smokes, so that was the real reason), and decided to take Jack along and go look at the Op Shops, as Jack loves Op Shopping. I have scoured them for school shirts for weeks, to no avail, and then today, I walk in to the Lifeline Op Shop and there they are, 4 school shirts. I was going to buy 3 brand new at the school, as I had failed to find any, they are $30 a pop, so just to keep him clothed for school for 3 days, it would have cost me $90, a lot of money when you don’t have much to go around. Today’s stroke of luck cost me $16 for all four. So, I saved big. It’s nice to have a win.

Apart from that little adventure, I have been completely wrecked by fibromyalgia, we’ve had the vinyl floor removed ready for tiling, I’ve named all of Jack’s school stuff, and, well, I can’t think, mind block. It’s been a crazy day. Right now, I need to go to bed, hopefully, hopefully, I will sleep all night and sleep in tomorrow, I should be so lucky. We shall see. (I apologise now if any of this sounds disjointed, it’s just my head).

Andy.

Doing my best

With everything that life has thrown at me, the second most worst thing is Fibromyalgia, it is certainly the most debilitating, but my ex, and everything she threw at me (figuratively and literally) was the worst. But this is about the fibromyalgia, it’s in the present, the other in the past.

I have been wrecked for days. Not sleeping well, until last night when I had a can of Wild Turkey and cola before bed although I rarely drink, at least it kept me asleep all night, although I did wake up early again, who knows why, but my body, as exhausted as it is, still wants me to be awake at 6.30am. I have had at times excruciating pain as well, so a full blown flare up is under way.

As crap as I am, I have been promising Jack that I would go out on my pushbike for a ride with him, a decent one, so he could show me how well he is doing with the bike riding thing. Well, half awake this afternoon at around 4pm, we went for a ride, first it was to the park just around the corner, I wasn’t sure how far I could push him to go, but we got there in a breeze ( I haven’t ridden a bike for waaaayyyy to long). So we rode through the park, and down to the highway. Still, he was going great guns, doing it all easy, and even I was doing pretty good, all things considered.

We got the the highway, and I bit the bullet. The tyres on my bike were a bit soft, not flat, but nearly there, so I decided that we would ride into town. The highway is about a third of the way to town, so we went across when there was a break in the traffic, and kept going. Down past his school (which was a good test, as we may be doing the bike to school thing together every day when school starts), and on to the service station to use their tyre inflator. Once I did that, my bike was even easier to ride.

Last year, I bought myself a ladies cruiser style bike, very retro, it’s powder blue and white with some tropical themed trim, and a bit of tan on the seat, pedals and handlebar grips. It was my very first new bike in my entire life, every single one I had had in the past was secondhand. Yes, you did read correctly, even though I am a man, I bought a ladies bike. It is easier for me to get on and off, as it doesn’t have the cross bar so high, and with the fibromyalgia, coupled with all the problems I have with my back from breaking it in 2005, I need something that is easy to use. It has a wide seat, I do have a more than ample backside, and those swept out and angled back type handle bars, so I don’t have to lean forward to ride, I can keep my back nice and straight and upright. I have to say, it is so much more stylish than any men’s bike, men’s bikes usually come in a range of black or grey, and usually are mountain bikes, which, unless you are a mountain biker, suck.

I was really stoked at how well Jack did with the ride, we ended up going right into town, which is 4 kilometres, and then back again, which is a slight uphill ride all the way. I think he was thrilled to do it, and especially seeing me out riding a bike, I think he didn’t think I could do it !!! To be honest, I am really stoked that I managed to do it too !!! And, considering this was the first time I had gone for a decent ride on the new bike, it blew me away as to how easy it was to ride, it is such an awesome bike.

Before our little outing this afternoon, we went into the city, as Mum wanted to buy a new TV.  She ended up buying a 50 inch screen one, and after watching an action movie on it this afternoon, all I can say is, wow ! Its Ultra High Definition 4K, and with the new Blu-ray player she got, it is just amazing sound and clarity of picture. I now have my TV back, it’s only 32 inch, but that is perfect for my bedroom, and it’s nice to have my TV back in my room so if I want to watch something on my own, I can.

Anyhow, I am completely wrecked, my evening painkillers are beginning to kick in, so I should attempt to get some sleep I guess. Goodnight.

Andy.