Well That Was An Experience

Fighting every urge to rush back to work, I’m instead listening to medical advice to rest for 48 hours, backed by the fact that my insides feel like someone’s had a good rummage in there. Which I suppose they have.

I had a double procedure yesterday to investigate my stomach issues. I had both an endoscopy (camera down the throat) and a colonoscopy (camera up the bum) with sedation. The surgeon was happy with how it all went, saying there were no nasty surprises, so that’s a relief. He did remove some polyps but was reasonably sure they were non-cancerous and he took some biopsy samples as well. All are being sent for testing, which should take a couple of weeks.

The experience was, as far as these things can be, relatively good. Having done the laxatives and fasting, I checked in and did the usual checklists of medical questioning to double check against what they already knew. For me there was a joy that there’s a bluntness to conversations with the nurses and doctors so we could relax into joking and not dancing around the terminology and details. It actually helped relax me.

I dutifully changed into the requisite gown and backwards disposable pants, took infacol to settle my stomach/get rid of bubbles in the guts, and then we were into it with, I have to say, the most painless cannula fitting I think I’ve ever had! I honestly didn’t even feel the needle and as a veteran of these things I have an appreciation of the skill that can take.

I was going to be sedated, which was a mercy, and it kind of worked in that it knocked me sideways briefly enough for the actual insertions. Being me and awkward like that, I kept waking up. As you do. Apparently this is not uncommon as they try to keep the sedation light. They had mentioned it before the procedure so I was more bemused than alarmed. They added more sedation a couple of times but again it was brief periods of being out.

Rather than feeling any worry, I instead watched the screens with fascination and switched to gas and air when they’d done with my throat. I remember admiring my own internal gut structure and it certainly all had a healthy glow as far as I could see. It reminded me of some of my organic flowing artwork, truth be told.

And then we were done, they wheeled me back to a recovery bay to observe me for an hour so I sat up with my phone and let people know I was okay. It meant I could coordinate my release with Lady M so I could walk out the door, wander round to the car park and meet her coming up from the car.

But I’m exhausted. My throat is fine, not a hint of soreness, but stomach and guts are aching gently as they wake back up and are reintroduced to food and drink.

So that’s a new experience. It’s not one I’m wanting to have again any time soon but at least I now know what to expect and that’s therefore another fear thrown in the bin. Time for a rest.

Quick Update

Another day closer to the procedure, and after yesterday’s ultrasound scan today was mostly about PCR tests, sorting laxative prescriptions, and going into isolation. Being a conscientious sort I have of course been keeping colleagues and staff appropriately briefed and told them I’m going to be unavailable for a couple of days. In accordance with the book of sod, this has then meant that my phone has been pinging non-stop with notifications and questions. I may have quietly growled at the last person to call me and have now put my phone on “do not disturb”.

One nice thing to have happened this week has been the introduction of a new colleague at my level, taking over the Farnham area libraries – and as it transpires I already know them a bit. They used to run the local Harris + Hoole coffee shop in the local Tesco a couple of years back. They still had the stunned expression of information overload that everyone has when being shown round and introduced to everyone, but hopefully that will ease quickly enough. I think they’ll get their feet under the table quick enough.

I’m still not sure if the twist in my stomach is illness or anxiety.

Rainy Day

Its my Saturday on duty (I get about one a month) where I’m one of the senior staff available to back up the branch managers, call in reinforcements, or provide some direction as required – and its the first time this year I’ve stepped back into one of the libraries as I’ve been partially isolating ahead of the hospital visits over the next few days. For the most part this has me sitting in my office working through a series of tasks I’ve prioritised while listening to the heavy thud of large raindrops on the window sill and roof edging next to me. It’s underlaid by the wet hisses of cars driving through standing water on the roads, and the faint clunk of doors opening and closing elsewhere in the building.

The biggest surprise for me this morning though was the anxiety that gripped me about coming in. There was a dread about getting up and getting in and being back in a public building – not because of any fear about the job but I think mostly tied in to my anxieties about the hospital and the active preparations I have to make next week for it. I may just take the next few days off as sick leave so I can focus on and deal with whatever needs to happen or that comes of it all – and I know that I’ll be supported by all in doing so. Indeed, there was some surprise by staff that I was in given they know how unwell I’ve been recently. I’m certainly not feeling chipper, as much as I wear the mask at the moment. I’m not sleeping properly, and my appetite has fled, leaving me with a hazy fog in my brain that isn’t doing any wonders for my mood.

I think its partly a legacy of working in the public sector on the frontline for so long that I want to fly the flag and be present as much as I can be. I appreciate the value of being visible on many levels, and one of those is just the reassurance that there is a more manager-y manager around on the weekend – that the wider support structure and hierarchy is up and running and so business as usual can take place. There’s also buried in there a guilt about being unwell that I just can’t shake – some kind of conflation of sickness as some kind of failing that I know is utterly false, and yet I can feel it dragging claws in my guts quite separate from the discomfort of whatever is wrong with me.

Right now, my mood seems to match the rain – a cliche, but then they all have to come from somewhere to be so widely recognised. Here’s hoping for a break in the weather in a bit.

Just When I Got Cocky…

I have various medical investigations over the next week or so, and I’d managed to get to the point of thinking “maybe I’m imagining things” as I’ve had a few weeks of good health. As if to remind me to stay in my lane, my body decided to flare up again the last couple of days and now I’m back to being exhausted and cautious again.

I’m so used to being the “strong and handle everything” person in and for family that the concept of not being able to bounce back so quickly from illness is proving a nasty shock. I watched Encanto the other day and the character of Luisa who is literally carrying other beasts of burden and treating every request as an instant order to prove their worth hit just a little too close to the mark. Her song about pressure is now living rent-free in my head at the moment (but then it is very catchy).

So, I’m going to try and pace myself in between the medical poking and prodding and keep thinking positive and practical thoughts to keep my spirits up. I’m almost looking forward to getting sedated next week to force me to stop…

The Yearly Round-Up

I’m somewhat torn between “good grief, that was a long year” and “wait a minute, it was just March!” as I settle down to write this. The blog has continued to grow – as of the time of writing there are 7,943 views from 4,075 unique visitors, 874 likes were recorded and 7 comments. By far the biggest draw is the main page for the new blog entries, while the rest of the traffic is split between old gaming writeups, a click-baity item I once wrote about almost but not quite having a polyamory tattoo, and a short story called Identity Crisis that I wrote back in 2017.

I’m not aiming to make a financial empire out of the site – there’s links to merchandise, true, but even that’s just artistic odds and ends and nerdy support for my friends and family – so while I’m sure there are bots and even SEO experts champing at the bit to offer me advice on how to grow and monetise the blog there isn’t any interest in doing so. The statistical figures are of passing interest in a “huh, that’s cool” way rather than a driver of activity. If they were, I’d probably not enjoy writing the blog so much.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t sometimes feel like a job or a chore, but I see it as good practice to keep in the habit of writing, even if it isn’t the rolling production of fiction that in my mind’s eye I would prefer to be doing. The real world, alas, distracts me far too often with maintaining the household, working the day job, and looking out for my loved ones – but on reflection that’s a good thing. It means I’m present for people, am keeping relatively active, and am looking after myself. That last one still feels a bit of a radical concept.

A lot has happened this year – including three months of boy s and the cub moving in while they relocated more locally – but there was also a promotion, a more active engagement with LGBTQ+ issues at work, and marching in Surrey’s Pride Parade with colleagues and clients. I’ve built a team of managers who are passionate about outreach and engagement with local communities. I even sold a few tshirts and started an erratically scheduled podcast. Editing of short stories and sharing those with a wider circle of people for feedback has occurred.

And I’ve started to feel less guilty about not managing to achieve absolutely everything all at once, let alone the illusion of productivity born of being busy all the time. Hopefully that will help me manage my health better as the doctors continue to prod, poke, scan, and probe. Fingers crossed, and all that.

That’ll do for the year in review I think. If you want more details, the blog is literally here to dive into – I’m going to make a cuppa and have a light lunch now. See you soon.

Well, that was unpleasant

I’m not sure if I’m putting it down to food poisoning, a mild case of whatever my stomach is doing, or sheer exhaustion but the last 24 hours were unpleasant.

Between running to the loo frequently and fluctuating temperatures I’ve been wiped out to the point that merely waking up with clogged sinuses this morning has been a pleasant relief.

Oh, and first order of business this morning is helping boy s chase the estate agents as the hot water tap fell off his bath last night and I’ve had to cut off the water to prevent a flood.

Good start…

Rumble Rumble

The ongoing saga of my unstable innards continued today with the first attempt to try and find out what on earth is going on. I had an initial consult the other week, and by the end of next month I’m pretty sure I’ll have run out of places to be poked, prodded, scanned, and probed. Well, let the fun times roll, I guess. So, today’s trip was to have a CT-Scan which somehow I’ve never had before. I’ve had xrays with dyes injected, which is odd enough, but this was my first ever trip in the automatic polo sweet. So that was something I guess.

As is traditional with any medical testing procedure, I had to don the one-size-fits-none shirt and gown combination and when summoned duly padded through to answer all the questions I’d already answered at least three times already – but better safe than sorry and all that.

If you’ve never had a CT-Scan then basically they get a needle attached to get the dye in your arm, lie you down on the bed which then moves through the large metal loop full of magnets while a recorded voice tells you to breath in and hold your breath from time to time… And that’s about as exciting as these things get. At some point I’ll get the results, but I suspect the consultant will want to wait until after the endoscopy and colonoscopy booked in for next month.

So that’s something to look forward to. Sedations all round!

Clanning Together

The last few nights I’ve been playing Destiny with boy s and Lady B. We’re each one different platforms due to the wonders of cross play. I’m on an XBox, Lady B on a PC, and boy s on a PlayStation. We’re using Discord for voice comms and it’s turning into a nice semi regular end of an evening bit of fun.

We’re using a Clan I set up back in the first Destiny game to help organise our Roster, and it’s another good example of how tech can be tangled in new combinations to bring us all together – albeit this time united in the desire to shoot aliens in the face and dance in the middle of battlefields.

Admittedly it’s now one in the morning but as I had my Moderna booster shot this morning my arm is currently very stiff and sore so I can’t settle anyway. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I spent a fair chunk of this afternoon dozing on the sofa.

So, that’s why I’m blogging a little later today as I try to switch my brain off and curl up with Lady M. Here’s to a quiet day off and a body that continues to more or less behave for a bit

Spinning Wheels

Like an overrevved car with smoking wheels, the week has managed that age old trick of standing still and generating a lot of noise and motion – but somehow still isn’t over. I actually had that moment of being genuinely shocked this afternoon that it was only Thursday.

Between running round helping boy s gather things for his new flat, various illnesses, and general stresses with work deadlines it has been packed. I’ve had conversations around outreach opportunities with partner organisations ; talked about potential Arts Council funded events for the future; focused on further recruitment; and generally steered and pushed things as only a library manager can.

There’s a lot there, but as a lot of it is kind of setting things up rather than necessarily delivering discrete results, I think it hasn’t felt as productive as it has. I suppose it could be worse, but it has felt at times like an extended anxiety rush with added heartburn. But hey, there’s still Friday to look forward to.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Could You All Just Stop?

My day started with one of my branch managers phoning me while they were having a panic attack on top of what turned out to be an acute asthma attack. They were worried that they might have to close their library as they were working on their own. There’s a lot to unpick there, and once I’d talked them through getting their breathing a bit less on the edge of collapse I wasted no time in telling them that I couldn’t care less about closing the library – their health is far more important. This is an individual who is new in their job and feels they have a lot to prove, despite my telling them many times over that they are doing a great job and literally have nothing to prove and they need to slow down.

Grumpy? Me?

While still reeling that in I got a call about another member of staff wrenching their back while reaching for christmas decorations in a cupboard, had an update on another person about to undergo surgery, and had calls from the cub’s school that he wasn’t well and could someone come and retrieve him. I may have growled about that as he’d pranked me this morning by walking out of his room with red vaseline around his mouth so that it looked like he had foot and mouth but was thankfully at that time okay. Lady M meanwhile had called in sick with a heavy cold, and while down in Portsmouth boy s had also succumbed to the same cold.

It turned out that the cub has, you guessed it, got the same heavy cold as Lady M and boy s – so I’m chalking it up to Con Flu from the weekend. Lateral Flow Tests have remained negative.

Me? I haven’t got time to be ill. I had school runs, building health and safety inspections, job shortlisting, event risk assessments, and partnership meetings to sort out – and retrieving boy s from Portsmouth after hours. Tomorrow I have more of the same, so I’ve quarantined everyone else in the flat in the other rooms and laid claim to the sofa. If I get this in the same week that I’ve had my blood pressure medications increased, I won’t be happy.

So, could you all just stop falling apart please? I haven’t finished my turn yet.