Tag Archives: the boss

Ya Flu Sucks …

fluLast Tuesday in work, the boss stared at me in a somewhat odd manner.

‘Oi, Half-Shift, you here or what?’

‘Oh, er. Yes, that colour scheme looks great. White looks fab with, um, everything don’t you think?’

‘Nice, but we’re talking about the roof plans?’

I tuned back in from wherever I was. I felt … wrong.

I left work early with, ‘ta-ra Quarter-Shift’ ringing in my white-noise ears.

At home, I collapsed onto the sofa (a recurring theme) and lay there, dazed (another recurring theme).

Strangely though, I didn’t feel like eating any chocolate. It was probably then that I knew something fairly serious was up.

That night, I crawled into bed and spent hours tossing and turning, covered in sweat and having the strangest dreams. I woke up long enough to cancel two appointments and went back to bed.

When I woke again, I couldn’t get out of bed. I tried. Then tried again. Eventually, I tumbled downstairs and collapsed again on to the sofa. I was feverish and aching.

Hours later, I dressed in yesterday’s clothes and dragged myself off to a chemist. He noted my long list of symptoms and finally told me I was one of the unlucky, ‘Had the flu jab, got the flu’ peeps.

I questioned him closely:

‘And that would explain the aching joints? The insomnia? The nausea? The headaches?’

‘Yes.’

‘And also the feverish dreams?’

‘Yes.’

‘What about the complete lack of appetite? And do you think this might be a lasting symptom (ever hopeful)?’

‘Yes. And, ah, no.’

Right. Panic stations.

I haven’t felt this ill in a long, long time. I can always somehow truck on, but this, this was on a different level. I was reduced to a gibbering wreck. No longer could I hide these symptoms from The Teenager when he found me on the sofa staring at ‘Judge Rinder’ with glassy eyes.

‘Hi! I don’t seem to be able to get up off the sofa. Not MS, just the flu. Nothing to worry about.’

The Teenager patted me on my head.

‘Mum. You know, you’ve always been kinda brave by keeping your MS symptoms away from me. I know that. I’m not like, stupid. But, like, let me help.’

It was hard, but I did. He cleared away glasses and cups, put out the rubbish, tidied up the kitchen and got me juice. He fetched my unread book-club book from upstairs, fed the cat, closed the curtains.

The next two days were a blur of willing myself to get better. Flu seems to exacerbate all manner of MS symptoms, so along with the aching and feeling of being run over, I was coping with more foot drop, bonkers balance and an interesting speech slur.

And now, five days on, I’m getting slowly back to normality. Or something like it.

One thing’s for sure. This has been a terrible year so far – surely I’m due some good news?

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A Grave Decision

yayIf you choose to have Alemtuzumab treatment as I did, you’ve got a one in three chance of developing Grave’s disease, a thyroid disorder.

I got the illness and yet another insert in my medical file.

It’s fine – when I was rapidly losing weight and feeling like I could take on the world with the excess energy I had, it was sublime.

The severe cartoon-like heart palpitations were another matter however, and were sadly followed with beta-blockers to bring me back to earth with a thud.

Since then, I’ve been on varying doses of thyroid meds to calibrate me back to normal. Up a little, down a little.

I had a consultation with an empathic and lovely endocrinologist today who fortunately has a great insight into Alemtuzumab-induced Grave’s Disease.

I’m to stay on the meds for another six months, but the likelihood is I will have to choose between losing my thyroid or becoming radioactive (for a week).

Hmm. I googled, and wish I hadn’t. One post started, ‘so, you’ve elected to have your throat cut – are you aware of the risks?’

I met The Boss for Emergency Talks tonight (long, sorry work saga) and explained my dilemma.

I took a sip of wine and said, ‘and I’ve looked in to it, you know, if I get the thyroid taken out, I could, like, lose my ability to … shout.’

‘Can you go private? I’ll pay.’

Charming.

I asked him how he was, what with his broken arm, dodgy knee and headaches.

That obviously reminded him and I waited as he popped out a few pills from their blister packs.

‘Well ..’

‘Yes?’

‘You know my dodgy knee?’

‘How can I forget, Boss?’

‘Erm, well, the doctor thinks its, well, um …’

What?’

‘Gout’.

Ah.

‘Isn’t that what older people get?’

If looks could kill …

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Right-Hand Woman

armThe boss is suffering.

Not just any old suffering – this is full-blown ‘I’ve broken my right arm – I’m a builder, a builder! – and I’m wallowing‘ kind of suffering.

Add in a lot of cursing and sighing and you get the picture.

We met for coffee before work this morning, as usual; a kind of mini-debrief to go over what I’ve missed as I ‘only’ work part-time.

In the shuffling coffee queue, when I was debating whether or not to have a chocolate twist, I asked him how his arm was. Mistake.

‘Gah. Ah. Ouch. Am in sooooooo much pain.’ He holds his grubby cast up so I could see it. Eww.

‘Have you taken anything?’

‘Taken everything. Nothing touches it. Could you pop two sugars in my coffee and stir it, ta?’

‘How are you feeling, you know, in yourself?’

Horrible. Lousy. D’pressed. Can’t do nothing. Have to shower with my arm in a plastic bag. Dropped my fried eggs on the floor last night. Can’t type. Can’t … do nothing. And the nerve pain. Gah. The pain. You wouldn’t understand.’

I let that one go.

‘What did you do with the eggs?’

‘Huh? Oh, I just somehow scooped them back on to the plate, painfully, dusted them off and ate them.’

Lovely.

Later on, in work, we were having our early-afternoon coffee  and carrot cake, chatting through the project when he suddenly laughed and said, ‘that’s really weird, it’s like we’re one person’.

Hmm. The boss is a good friend of mine, but I wouldn’t go that far.

‘Yeah, it’s like, I’m invalidated, invalided, whatever it is and so are you, so we’re like half a person each. Half and half is, like, one person, innit? We’re down one whole person. S’funny.’

Well. I waited for him to stop laughing, then stopped myself from replying.

I’ve always said laughter is the best remedy when it comes to coping with life-changing events. I have a laugh in work and I know I’m fortunate enough have a flexible, fun, inspiring job, working with my best friend. He was only responding in the same way I do, joshing at himself. Ok, and me, but you know what I mean.

The owners came over shortly afterwards to have a look around and made the mistake of asking how he was.

He held up his grubby cast. I put my earphones in and got on with work.

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Mind The Gap

get well soonSeven weeks post-third course of Campath (Alemtuzumab) and things were looking up.

If you discounted the cold sores, the bonkers fatigue and the two-week long head cold I just couldn’t shift, things were absolutely fine.

I’m back in work (although naturally The Boss would disagree), and I’m back in Uni for my second year of the Master’s.

Mind you, I’m still wrestling with the experimental writing module – my mind whirls off into weird and wonderful stories ( … this is a dot. A lovely dot. A dot that wanted to be a comma, blah blah) rather than concentrating on Virginia Woolf and her pals.

Then disaster struck.

First, The Boss was fiddling with his ladders on the roof of his van last week, slipped on some rain and fell over, breaking his right arm pretty spectacularly. Cue a plaster cast, a very, very sad face and the realisation that, as a building company, we had to come up with a plan and fast.

Second, just as I was holding a drainage pipe in place, I was whacked over the head by the most overwhelming MS super-charged cricket bat that I felt physically sick. I staggered to a pile of insulation sheets and collapsed in a heap.

I panicked. It couldn’t be a relapse but my speech was wonky, my balance was shot and my head was floating somewhere around in the stratosphere.

I left work early, holding back the vertigo and nausea and somehow got home, wondering how best to prepare for the Uni lecture that evening. Answer: not much. Just getting there would be an achievement.

The minute I got out the shower and had wrapped my dressing gown around myself, The Teenager pounced, holding out his laptop;

‘Mum, mum, mum, mum. Have you heard of The Ramones? Have you? Like, listen to this.’

‘Oh, very nice. Lovely dear.’

‘Yeah, great, innit? And this, there’s a weird guy dancing, look.’

‘Oh right. Yes, that is a bit, um, odd.’

‘Hang on, listen to this song, really funny and can I have some money for the cinema and can you drop me off a bit later? I drank all the milk, sorry.’

I have no idea what’s going on.

But I do know one thing – The Teenager wants a ‘Ramones’ t-shirt for Christmas.

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Sick. And Tired.

workWell, this convalescing malarky isn’t much fun.

An interminable routine of waking up and falling asleep, interspersed with hideous headaches and increased foot-drop, so much so that I had to dig out my craft glue-gun and stick the soles back on my favourite boots after tripping over one too many pavements.

University started back last week which was a welcome reprieve. I packed my file, pencil case, water bottle and emergency Pro-Plus and toddled off, careful to watch my step as the glue has been in a drawer for a couple of years.

A whole module of New and Experimental Writing. Exciting. Or so I thought. I pondered ruminated mused, ‘I can be avant-garde, I can be Left Bank and enthuse about counter-culture and the like’. I pictured myself in six months time, graciously accepting a literary prize for my ground-breaking, innovative novella in which the main character was an MRI scanner. Brilliant. Undeniably genius.

Anyway, back in the real world, I have one more week off work and plan to sleep through most of it in the desperate hope that I can bank some energy. I dipped my toe in the water yesterday and worked with The Boss just to see how I’d manage. All went well; I was on top form, as I’m pretty good in the mornings. We started off with a debrief over coffee and toast in the local cafe. My eyes glazed over after a while and he dragged me to work, bribing me with a flapjack from the bakery next door.

It was fine. Until about noon, when the foot-drop reared its ugly head. There’s a lot to trip over on a building site. There’s a lot of holes in the floor, and after my spectacular fall through a kitchen ceiling a couple of years ago (which I’m reminded of on a weekly basis), I’m pretty careful.

I yawned more and more until the boss took the hint and wrapped it up by 1pm. Bliss. I fell into my house, threw myself on the sofa and didn’t move for three hours. I’m not so sure my Back To Work Plan is, um, going to plan.

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