Tag Archives: The Cat

Could Someone Rewind This Year Please?


It’s almost May and it might as well be February, as I’ve been in an MS-imposed hibernation since then. All my Grand Plans for 2017 have come to zilch.

This latest relapse has been tough and it’s taken all my diminished strength to get through it.

As always, life shrinks to the absolute bare minimum. It’s a case of getting through the day. The pain has been crippling, the fatigue all-encompassing.

As I emerge from my MS cocoon, it seems the world has moved on. I’m still wearing my Nordic sweaters and ordering ready-made hearty soups from Tesco. I’m watching dark Swedish dramas on telly and wondering where to introduce dramatic black paint into my house. In short, I’m still in Winter-mode when everyone else has dusted off their shorts and barbecues. S’not fair.

If I had the energy, I’d host a pity-party for one, just like I did way back when I was first diagnosed. It’s been an incredibly long relapse compared to the usual three-weekers.

Anyway, enough whingeing. The Teenager and The Cat have been getting on with their lives in the meantime and handily for them both, I’m pretty much always available to speak to as I loll on my sofa trying to maintain a semblance of normality. I’m a captive audience:

  • The cat enjoyed her course of steroids (it cracks me up that she was on the exact same ones as I’ve taken for relapses in the past) and her fur is growing back. Mind you, her tail looks a bit weird as it’s still fairly bald at the bottom.
  • She’s being bullied by a new cat on the block, resulting in sudden scamperings into the house, nearly giving me a heart attack.
  • Two mice have been left right outside the back door. I stepped on one of them.

As for The Teenager:

  • He pushed his way through the 1000-strong crowd on the Common outside my house to get a selfie with Jeremy Corbyn when he spoke here last Friday. Random, but true. Jeremy looks slightly bemused.
  • He has finally worked out how to use the oven; luckily the house didn’t blow up when he left the gas on overnight after cooking a couple of chicken breasts. But at least he got his protein.
  • I attended an overnight MS Society Council meeting at the weekend and said to him in a misplaced spirit of generosity, ‘why not have a couple of friends round?’ And, ‘feed the cat’. Long story short, ten hulking teenagers were squeezed into my house, my recycling bags are filled to the brim with beer cans and I’m still finding bottle tops down the sofa. The cat is alive.

Hopefully, I’m turning a relapse corner and I can start playing catch-up on the year which is passing me by in a blur of supreme inactivity. Or maybe I should throw the towel in and start writing my Christmas list …

p.s. I know there’s a spelling mistake on the picture – just too tired to correct it …

Tagged , , , ,

Third Time Lucky …

campathMy MS has been slowly getting worse again, so I’m booked in for a third course of Campath (Alemtuzumab) next month.

I had a sneaky relapse earlier this year and another one just the other week.

First off, I know how lucky I am to be eligible for the treatment; the earlier two courses put a stop to the relentless grind of relapse after relapse.

I got my (so-called) life back on track. Things were good. Until they weren’t.

So now, at the busiest time in our work’s history, ever, I’m frantically sorting out details:

The Teenager – he will (hopefully) be embarking upon his A Levels (all will be revealed on Thursday). I want to make sure he’s settled and happy before the Campath. My wonderful friend, who lives just down the road, will be having him for two nights.

The Cat – she has a reserved place at a cattery ‘overlooking beautiful Welsh countryside’ and her cat basket is safely stashed in my car boot. With her favourite blankie.

The University – which starts two weeks after hospital. Gah. I’m booked in to sort out a scribe, in case I’m not well enough to attend that all-important first lecture.

The Book Club – a week after Campath. I have diligently started reading ‘A Suitable Boy’, all 1500 pages of  it.

And as for the hospital trip, after the last two times, I’m feeling more than prepared. I will bake a batch of chia-seed energy bars to take with me, should the snacking compulsion overwhelm me. No more Jelly Babies and Maltesers. My mum has offered to bring in fresh salads and tempting-yet-healthy treats.

No books this time, certainly not ‘A Suitable Boy’. ‘Erm, excuse me, would you please stop screaming through your lumbar puncture, I’m losing my place. Ta.’

Pillows, natch. Favourite blankie (it’s not just the cat). Stash of magazines, from which I will snip out a pile of ‘must-buys’ before binning them. Ear-plugs, notebook to scratch down my very important musings upon hospital life, mobile phone, herbal tea bags, a few tea lights to brighten up the ward in the evenings.

It will all be fine. What could possibly go wrong?

Tagged , , , , , , ,

I Only Went and Did It…

Starving WriterI can’t keep away, can I?

I’ve missed blogging and frequently find myself composing random blog posts in my head, so here I am again. I feel like one of the Rolling Stones on their endless comeback tours, although I’d be tucked up in bed by 9pm with my earplugs in.

Anyway, much excitement chez moi. I applied for the MA in creative writing and, um, I was offered a place in September. Eeek.

To pay for it, I may need to find a suitably grotty garret and eat marked-down bread every day (baked beans would blow the budget), huddled in moth-ridden blankets – but I feel that will only add to my new persona as ‘A Writer’.

In other developments:

  • The Teenager complained his human rights had been violated by my recent refusal to buy him a Domino’s pizza and a large bottle of Fanta. You can imagine how that conversation went.
  • I have started a ‘notebook where I jot down words I don’t know the meaning of’ in preparation for my course. An expository prologue would denote that this is a Byzantine, Sisyphean task.
  • Strangely, I developed tennis elbow last week without picking up a tennis racket since 1984.
  • I cut my own hair in a moment of frustration. Not to be recommended, although I’m pleasantly surprised at the outcome (after several angsty days). Plus I’ll save a fortune on hair masks, intensive moisturisers, olive oil, eggs, etc…
  • The cat continues to bring little field mice into the house and drop them at my feet then bowing and stepping back with an innocent grin before pointing to her food bowl. Must remember to wear socks or slippers in the morning. Mice entrails feel a bit squishy underfoot at 6am.
  • The Teenager has lodged an official complaint. I must not, under any circumstances, feed him any of the following: leeks, tomatoes, onions, spring onions, blue cheese of any description, chili flakes, tarragon, mustard, garlic or enchilladas. I have been encouraged to buy food only at shops full of freezers. Anything with chips apparently. And gravy.

Apart from that, life continues as normal. The Teenager is due back in two hours after a long weekend in London. We are off to New York on Wednesday – making good use of my tiny tribunal payout. Yup, The Teenager is coming to Manhattan. Watch this space, it should be a blast…

Tagged , ,

Life Sure Ain’t Like The Movies…

popcornA funny thing happened the other day.

I was lying on the sofa reading a book, plucking Maltesers from a box I’d craftily hidden from The Teenager.

The next thing I knew I had woken with a start, the book (and Maltesers) having crashed to the floor.

This may sound boringly insignificant, but I thought stuff like that only happened in movies for dramatic effect – just like you can see the Eiffel Tower from any window in Paris.

I ranted to the cat after she’d stopped chasing the Maltesers round the floor – how could anyone fall asleep so quickly that they couldn’t put their book down first?

Either explanation is most unpalatable:

a) old age creeping up on me

b) worsening MS fatigue

Mind you, if my life were a movie, there would be a conveniently-placed handsome man who would gently prise the book from my fingers, wrap me in a cashmere blanket and gaze upon my slumbering face before dimming the lights and nestling another log on the open fire.

Furthermore, kindly neighbours would have left a pile of casseroles and lasagnas outside my door during my worst relapses two years ago. They would also have surprised me by putting up my Christmas tree and arranging for an angelic choir to sing carols outside my door, snow falling softly.

On recovery, I would magically spring the money to spend a month somewhere exotic to ‘find myself’. There would be shots of me wandering sadly down golden-sand beaches. Towards the end however, I would be laughing and learning important, life-affirming lessons from the wise natives, arriving back home with a new-found sense of purpose in life.

But life isn’t like the movies. When I woke and found my book and chocolates on the floor, I was cold, I hadn’t started dinner and I found The Teenager hanging off an open fridge door bemoaning the lack of junk food (‘everyone else in school gets to have it, why not me, you meanie? What am I supposed to do with a tangerine?’).

I explained to him what had happened. He was unperturbed (‘mum, you’re, like, old, you know? It’s what old people do, my grandad does it all the time’).

Out of interest, I asked him what he would like to see come true from the movies. He didn’t hesitate – ‘one of those huuuuuuuge American fridges crammed with junk food and my own den in the basement  and……(I stopped listening after five minutes)……

Tagged , , , , , ,

A Sense of Disconnection

life without the internetOh my days. Who knew that being with a much-reduced internet connection over the last week could be quite so traumatic?

The Teenager has gone through a whole range of emotions, from full-blown panic (‘how will I survive? I am utterly, totally disconnected’) to deep depression (‘wake me up when it’s over’).

I helpfully suggested he read a book or I don’t know, make something.

I was smartly told that whilst that may be acceptable for old people like me who went through their teenage years *gasp* without the internet, he’d rather sit in McDonalds like a saddo all day where they at least have free wifi, thank you very much.

Anyway, we’re back on track and a sense of normality has returned to our little cottage (it won’t last). In other news over this quiet week:

  • I had a letter inviting me to my graduation ceremony next May and did I want to hire a cap and gown? Which means my degree results must be on their way, eek.
  • The Teenager gave up his paper round. Enough said. You really don’t want to hear about it. Or the specially-extended lecture I gave him.
  • My smartphone (so badly-named) decided to get in on the internet act and freeze at inopportune moments, leading to a telling-off at work. Boss – ‘oi, get off your phone’. Me -‘ I’m not on it, I’m waiting for it to unfreeze’. Boss – ‘right, no more coffee or chocolate at break times’. Me ‘be right with you, boss.’ To show how sorry I was, when the phone worked I sent him pictures of cats doing funny things as that always cheers him up.
  • All the crafty bits I ordered for Christmas have arrived – candle wicks, wax pellets, craft knife, cutting mat, white card, Christmas essential oil, modelling clay and star-shaped cookie cutters. Much hilarity will ensue.
  • The cat kindly left a birds head outside my back door. Which I stepped on.

While we have been surviving without much internet, my mum (62 years old and a great-grandmother) whizzed ahead of us.

In between Skyping her sister in Scotland, she upgraded her phone from a brick-like Nokia to a Samsung all-singing, all-dancing model. The Teenager is quietly impressed, if a little jealous….

Tagged , , , ,