Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not waving, but drowning

Cliched, I know, but I'm not doing very well and can't think outside cliches. I feel bad for moaning when so many other people are doing much worse, either because of really horrible things happening in their lives or because of serious ongoing issues. I think with me it is just a bunch of stuff and it is all getting on top of me. I am sorry, but this is going to be long and self-indulgent.

My shoulder is better, but nowhere near as good as it should be. I have probably 2/3 of the movement I should do in the forwards and sideways directions but only about 25% backwards. I can't do up my bra, it's challenging to zip clothes up on that side, and to tie wrap tops. I will probably never be able to do up my bra in place. Never. I still can't drive as it is very painful to get into 2nd or 4th gear (and a little sore holding the steering wheel, though that would be OK mooching round town).

I am still having physio but she has suggested I don't go twice a week for manipulation (yay!) but instead do more exercises on my own. I had been doing about 15 minutes, 3 times a day, which is preceded by taking a high dose of ibuprofen and warming my shoulder with a heat pack for a further 15 minutes. It's painful and time consuming but do-able and gives me an excuse to sit down in front of some crappy TV 3 times a day.

I was given some pulleys to use and the physio then suggested I start using them in the middle of the day, at work. I work in a 1970s building and they do not fit over the doors at work. But now the physio wants me to do at least something - preferably the pulleys, but that just isn't possible - every hour, as my shoulder apparently stiffens up if left immobile for even that short time. I have been trying to do this for the last week, I find it nigh impossible to coordinate with meetings, travel, setting my phone alarm but then going out of the room but I have been doing my best. As far as I can tell it is not making my shoulder more mobile - just more painful.

And that's another moan. I've been given very large amounts of ibuprofen and a low dose of codeine. I have been taking most of the ibuprofen as I also had some finger tingling, likely caused by inflammation in my arm. That has almost gone, and I'm running out of ibuprofen again, and am starting to get worried that I'm getting an acid stomach. I have to take the ibuprofen after food, and I always seem to end up at the right time to take the pills, but not the right time to eat, and as I say my stomach is not too happy. I have been avoiding taking the codeine. I started taking it at night because it makes me sleepy, but found that if I skip it, it is harder to sleep. This may be psychosomatic as it is a tiny dose, but I am paranoid about it (and don't want to fall asleep at work/in the cinema/on the bus, if I take it earlier in the day. I do take it before physio if I'm having manipulation, but after that I go home and groan anyway). So I'm worried I'll have to stop taking anything that actually works.

I am very likely to need a manipulation to my shoulder in a few months' time, under general or local anaesthetic. And frankly I am beginning to wonder if there is any point in doing the exercises if I'm only going to need the manipulation anyway.

And and and... sitting at my desk makes my shoulders hurt - in a different, new place. I am getting very little work done (though my office is quite tidy since I get up and move stuff around quite often, except of course when I sit at my desk saying to myself "shoulders hurt... get up... no... just look at blogs... forums... Facebook... hence spending more painful, but massively unproductive, time at my desk). I've managed I think ONE day starting at 9.30 and lasting past 5pm in the last month, and two where I got in before 9 and stayed past 4.30. All the other days have been 9.30-10am start, long lunch, go home at 4pm.

And I need to get a promotion in the next 18 months. Very badly. I need to be earning more when I go on adoption leave so I'm not trying to fight for it when on leave/working part time, and because Mr Spouse is likely to be on a new graduate salary at that point. And I've put in I think 5 grants in the last year and 4 have been rejected (and we haven't heard about the other one). I'm basically treading water at the moment, no grants or papers being submitted, just fire-fighting. I am normally a bit of a slacker, but I think I work in a more condensed manner than some people, plus I'm rude to students, so they don't bother me too much. So normally I'd get some of this kind of thing done in term time, which many colleagues say they don't. Now I'm not, and it's scaring me. My colleagues seem to work all day in the office, all evening at home, and the dedicated ones work all weekend and Christmas Day too. I don't do that normally, and couldn't possibly now.

And the whole adoption thing is just so, so dreary and boring and is going to take forEVER and suck out my soul (and our savings - at least we have them, for the moment). And I started my period yesterday, a day early, at least not too crampy owing to the rattly-pill-bottle nature of my stomach these days. But I feel bloated and have put on a couple of inches anyway with not being able to exercise much due to only having one working arm (no cycling, yoga, swimming, or Pilates for a start, and I've only just managed to start running again, just as it got too dark to run in the evenings, and then only after taking yet another painkiller).

And also, very sadly, my MIL is not well - we hope this is temporary, she had a fall but nothing broken, and she has an excellent appetite and is in reasonable physical health, but she is 89, we fear starting to get a little confused, but it is hard to tell if this is because of some other cause (infections are a common cause in the elderly). So she is in hospital for investigations, and we visited her last night.

So, given that at least we have a little money at the moment, and I have no toddlers with chocolate on their hands to smear on me, I thought perhaps cheering myself up with a little retail therapy might not be bad. Which is why after the hospital visit we headed to Kitsch Temple Of Shopping which is Very Badly Signposted, hence it taking me forEVER to find one of the shops I was very keen to visit. And just as I picked up 8 garments from the rails, they closed the changing rooms and would not let me in. 15 minutes before closing. It is over an hour away and I do NOT go there often enough to justify buying 8 garments on the offchance one will fit me.

Which is why last night I was in tears all over Mr Spouse on a bench sitting in KTOS.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Absent from post, guv

I have been slacking. Well and truly slacking. I don't quite know why, as I tend to intersperse my working day with spurts of blog- or forum-reading and I've been feeling a little out of sorts with a couple of my regular forums, but have kept on reading them despite this. So I totally missed what was going on in May's life and feel very, very sorry about this.

I think things are just very slow and vague for us at the moment. Five years on, and we are still not much further. The social worker is nice, and actually has a sense of humour (which is apparently rare). Although we are now sure that the US route is our first choice, she did ask us to justify this, not because she thinks we are wrong, but because in her words "I don't want you wasting your money". We came away even more convinced that we were right: although they initially said they'd take us on if we were open to children aged over 2, she is now saying over-3s only; I would really like to parent at least one child under this age. But more than this, she seems to think that the children available for adoption in the UK are moving more and more towards older and older children, and towards multi-sibling placements - they seem to place few singletons any more. I was also slightly amused to find out she didn't really have any idea how old Mr Spouse is, and like most people thought he was much younger than he is - him being older means we'd be less likely to be chosen by a placing authority for younger children, though the agency takes the age of the younger partner only into consideration.

She again recommended that we have a word with our local authority, who are much more likely to place younger children, but frankly we want to get on with it at this stage. I am reserving the right to see if we could adopt a second child through them, but for now we are going ahead with this and have booked in 5 of the 8 home study sessions we need. Some of it seems rather irrelevant to us, so I'm trying to hold my tongue; I think she can also see that I'm on the same page and do know something about the whole business. We had an interesting discussion about foetal alcohol exposure, for example. Sounds like we should finish this part around February.

First up, I think, is the Adult Attachment Interview. Joy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

To Do List, This Evening's Version

  • Ring grandmother of Brownie whose mother has learning difficulties to find out full situation
  • Then, ring mother to offer her our remaining ticket to the Panto (she won't be the only mother going, and I strongly suspect some other girls of having forbidden their parents from embarassing them by going too).
  • Remove entire contents of wardrobe and linen cupboard, currently draped around dining room/kitchen, drying.
  • Pile spare Brownie equipment slightly higher so it is possible to walk to said kitchen without killing oneself
  • Hoover living room so social worker, coming tomorrow morning, does not die of dust inhalation.
(Not entirely clear if social worker is only coming to reassure herself that we have decided which adoption route to pursue, or is actually intending to start our home study, but whichever - perhaps a slightly cleaner house would be an advantage. Most prospective adopters tell us that the social worker rarely steps outside the living room and only judges the house on the quality of the biscuits; unless my rep for great home-made biscuits has followed me from the preparation group, and she's expecting fabulous, I think we're OK on those!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


We were watching a "hard-hitting 70s drama" the other night and suddenly I realised one of the characters had had a miscarriage. I think I'm probably sensitive to this but it was one of these dramas where you cannot work out what on earth is going on, because nothing is directly stated. It all added up though, first the conversation between husband and wife "what, Vietnamese babies now?" (clearly the overseas adoption option du jour), then the frantic phone call of which you only heard the husbands end "oh no, not again, I'm coming straight there, we can try again". Mr Spouse didn't pick it up, but they did state it explicitly later in the show.

Tonight is the Wave of Light -- 7 PM till 8 PM here. I feel no particular need to go to any public events, but will remember this I think.