Sunday, 28 February 2010

A load of old rubbish

Because I've been replacing stuff and buying new items since I got to the UK - some are to try to make life a bit easier dealing with the fibro, etc., others are because I had almost no clothes after 16 years, the last decade of which I had very little money and, as I'd lost all my good clothes to the various floods and damp in the ramshackle house I was renting - I'm now starting to clear out my old junk. Starting: I did a bit - enough to make a mess - last Saturday, but I just cant stand long enough. Then I twisted my ankle and could bearly hobble for days ... it's gonna take ages.

Anyway, I put charity shop stuff in a clear (recycling) bag, because I want to separate it, but I need to be able to see what I've put where, since this is going to take so long and because I have fibromyalgia. You know, fibro fog. I need to make this as easy for myself as I can.

Mother will get this to sort into stuff to sell in the charity shop (where she works) and what's not good enough to go to the rag and bone man. It doesn't have to leave the house, or even my room, in that bag. No, that was wrong: she wanted it put in a black sack now. I refused. I explained, but her expression was that couldn't hear what was not what she wanted.

Never mind that this was for my needs. Those never count for anything.

Then I had put proper rubbish in the bin, as you do. And this included snotty tissues and used sanitary items. She wanted to rifle through this for paper that could go in the recycling (there was one envelope - didn't seem worth it), because she says she's "trying to cut down the amount of rubbish we throw out." She claims we're only allowed to throw out one black sack of rubbish and says that the council are about to change to fortnightly collections, making it worse.

She was getting really worked up and sounded panicky about it. From the tone, I was sure she'd just made that up. (There may be other reasons why she wants to rifle through my trash: she's been doing it ever since I got here.) Anyway, every week she seems to spends more and more time faffing about rubbish. Her worry defies logic and has become totally ridiculous.

Of course, I could leave her to think whatever she likes, but the point is that she gives me earache with loads of totally invented rules about what I can and can't throw out and, when and where, that even just the stress of listening to it is beginning to impact. Naturally, I'm not about to start doing things that are not needed, but if I don't, I get another load of earache, so unless I want these arguements to continue, I have to do something to put an end to them.

Worries over the quantity of rubbish are not new and I've tried to tell her time and time again that compared to average consumers, we buy practically nothing in this house. Much of the food we buy is fresh, we avoid packaging and bags wherever possible and, there are only two of us.

I'd told her to think it through: what do people with 4, or 6 or more in the family, for instance, do? They are bound to make much more rubbish than us. Bleedin' obvious, init?

But no, it doesn't matter how many times I say this, she chooses to ignore what I say.

So I thought I'd ring the council for a clarification on these points. Then I thought, no I won't, I'll email them, then I'll have a reply in writing that I can print off and give to her.

Of course, the council confirm that they have no plans at all to swap to fortnightly collections and, they say that we can put out as many black sacks as we like.

So I printed both the email and reply and handed it to her!

"Well, now that I know, officially," she replies, hoity-toity.

Yeah, the email said exactly what I'd already said to her over and over. Beat. Head. Against. Wall. Is she never going to believe a word I say? (Rhetorical question!)

She says you used to be only able to put out one bag: that she'd had a letter about it "years ago". I won't waste my time asking the council, but I feel sure that's not true.

Then she thanked me for doing it, because, she then says, "it was two or three of the women on the bus" who were spreading the false information. Wasn't her, of course!

Disney may be right ...

Continuing the regular, pointless fun ...

You're a Hyena!

"You have quite a sense of humor, though many others find it derisive rather than appealing. You are perceived as being a coward, but actually have moments of great bravery and have even stood up to those much larger than yourself. You like hanging out in groups and are always making a lot of noise. Disney thinks you are an idiot."

Take the Animal Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

You are a 1970s Diva


Well, big surprise here (NOT), since I became a teenager in the same year the decade started.

"Bell bottoms, platform shoes, wide belts, and tons of polyester. You've got a bit of that hippie vibe going on, but you're hip enough to pull it off!"

Polyester NO, but I had shoes like those. Crap for running for buses in! :)

What Decade Diva Are You?

Friday, 26 February 2010

What does it mean to have a nervous breakdown?

Answer from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.

The term "nervous breakdown" is sometimes used to describe a state in which a person is so severely and persistently distraught that he or she is unable to function at a normal level. Nervous breakdown isn't a medical term, however, nor does it indicate a specific mental illness.

Often, a nervous breakdown indicates depression. Signs and symptoms of depression may include:

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Persistent crying
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions

If you're concerned that you're experiencing a nervous breakdown, seek medical attention. If you have a primary care doctor, talk to him or her about your signs and symptoms — or seek help from a mental health provider.

(Well, if that's what it is, that's exactly what I've been suffering over the last year or so.)

What causes depression?

  • We do not fully understand the causes of depression.
  • Genes or early life experiences may make some people vulnerable.
  • Stressful life events, such as losing a job or a relationship ending, may trigger an episode of depression.
  • Depression can be triggered by some physical illnesses, drug treatments and recreational drugs.

It is often impossible to identify a 'cause' in many people and this can be distressing for people who want to understand the reasons why they are ill. However depression, like any illness, can strike for no apparent reason.

NetDoctor: Depression

Beck Depression Inventory II

image Your Score: 49

"Evaluation: Scores greater than 28 are an indication of severe depression. Your score is in this upper range. You have probably severe depression. You should contact your physician immediately."

Online Beck Depression test

You Should Be An Atheist


"So it's not really a religion. But that's the whole point.
You don't buy into the whole God thing ... or you just don't care. You may feel very alone in a world full of religious people. But just remember, atheism has a long and rich intellectual history."

What Religion Should You Be?

It's quite rare that what I should be is indeed, exactly what I am. :)

Interesting choice of wording that I "may feel very alone in a world full of religious people", because I don't. I don't think I am alone at all, at least not on this side of the pond. I certainly didn't feel alone in "secular" Spain either.

But clearly, these quizzes are written by a North American, for a predominantly North American audience and, I think that this choice of careful wording demonstrates the different transatlantic attitudes and perceptions.

Anyway, yes I do remember that "... atheism has a long and rich intellectual history".

For the same reasons as above, this seems to infer that I might feel apologetic about my choice of non-religion. I don't and my view is becoming increasingly the contrary: that intellect and religion are mutually exclusive.

Even as a child, I didn't "get" the whole God thing, but I gave it a hearing.

No, in fact, it gave my ears a right bashing at a Church of England school (Bishop Wand, in Sunbury on Thames.) Their attitude, which attempted to argue that the C of E was right, all others were wrong, struck me as "un-christian" and wrong.

If that's what religion was, I didn't want it.

And, until recently, I'd stayed clear of belonging to any, whilst remaining non-judgemental and tolerant of those who do profess one or another faith.

As an academic subject, I find religion quite fascinating, but the more I study comparative religions, the more I come to feel that superstitious belief in a "sky daddy" is something that, way back in man's history, was a natural response to "unexplainable" natural events for primitive people's ... that was later harnessed for the unscrupulous motives of those in power.

At its least insidious I see religion as a crutch: yet another excuse for people to abdicate responsibility for their actions or for sorting out their own lives, which seems to be exactly the situation the "Nanny State", administered by those with vested interests, would actually like: powerless people.

The further away from the early religions and the further west you go, the more tainted, corrupt, hypocritical and dangerous religious belief becomes in my view and, I know that I am not alone in the belief that, Societies [are] worse off ‘when they have God on their side’ (Via: God is for Suckers.)

And far from not caring: I try to understand that society pressures people to conform, but I also don't suffer fools. People don't consider themselves to still be primitive, but they also don't appear to use the brains they've got, so I have mixed feelings of frustration and pity for those who do not see through the blatant manipulation. Actually, this is because I do care about the greater good and, rather see these beliefs as hindering humanity's progress.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Foot in mouth disease?

Click to enlarge. Thankfully we do not have smellyvision! (As, no doubt, my BFF will call it!)

Sorry for the dark image, but I think you can see the clear red markings on my toe and the side of the ball of my foot.

As well as looking red, this feels raw like a burn and is deeply painful as if bruised. It's so bad I cannot even stand to lay that side of my foot against the bedcovers.

It's the inside of my right foot, clearly, which makes lying on my left side difficult, unless I dangle the foot off the edge of the bed. That's difficult, because my left knee locked shortly after I'd learned to drive (around 19) and has been painful and prone to swelling ever since, so I also have to be careful how I lie on that.

On the other hand, it's my right hip that has been in really severe pain for the last 9 years after a fall, so I can't sit, lean towards or lay on my right side either.

Now my right foot has become sore, as if bruised, at the base of the heel, meaning I can no longer lie on my back and lay my leg out straight either. (I can't sleep like that anyway.)

In order to be able to recline in bed, I've invested in a special cushion that elevates my legs and that I can dangle my foot off the end of, so it isn't coming into contact with anything.

Walking? Huh, well, it's hell. Even with cushioned soles and foam inserts in my shoes.

This redness and soreness seemingly came out of nowhere, for apparently no reason.

The first time I mentioned it was almost a year ago. It's never gone.

Vegetarian Diary, Day 1

Engrish photo of a sign that says f*ck the vegetables the food products
more the engrish!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


image Day 1: Saturday. Emptied contents of 6 drawers into corresponding piles on the bed, sorted the piles of clean laundry (mostly onto the same piles), sorted loose small stuff into boxes, baskets & bin.

Fell asleep, in the midst of the piles, totally knackered from overexertion.

Day 2: Sunday. Felt dizzy as soon as I got up to go anywhere, even the bathroom. Giving the chores a miss today. Still exhausted and needed siesta.

Day 3: Monday. Fully intended to take the morning easy and make some careful, slow progress in the afternoon, but couldn't keep awake long enough.

Day 4: Tuesday. Really, I had great intentions for today, then I went and tripped over a chair, stubbed and parted my toes and twisted my ankle. Can't walk, can't stand, can't declutter.

Day 5: Wednesday. Terrible night in pain with the poorly foot and ankle. Still can't walk or stand, so there goes yet another day where I'm going to get absolutely nothing done.

And yes, me and the cats are still curling up in spaces where we can between the piles!

Oh, I should mention that I actually intended to start this task back in October, but, what with one thing after another; medical appointments, relapses, crashes, other sickness, it took until last weekend to find a day where I was actually up to doing something about it.

Reckon this decluttering lark is going to take a wee bit longer than I hoped! Sarcastic

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

You Are the Innovator

innovator"You're the type of person who is always a step ahead of everyone else. You thrive when you're experimenting with new designs, ideas, and attitudes. You are a creative person with many talents. You have to have artistic outlets in your life. You need to create - whether it's writing furiously or redecorating your home. If not, your life becomes chaotic.

You tire of doing the same thing every day. You change your job, friends, and personal style often. You are at your best when you have a focus.

If not, you develop a flaky artist's temperament."

(And they were doing so well until they got to that last line! Laughing)

What Role Do You Play?

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Umbrella Test

Given that there might be odd occasions when I'm forced to go out in the rain (it won't be by choice, as damp increases pain), I reluctantly bought an umbrella and it was black:

"When faced with adversity, you respond with authority. You don't let problems faze you. You are naturally powerful and commanding. People look to you to take charge. You are elegant and classy. You know how to always say and do the right thing. [I wish] While you stand out, you also fit it. You thrive in a variety of situations. On a rainy day: you carry on as normal - a little bad weather isn't going to get in your way!"

True, on the many rainy days there are here, I do carry on as normal- by staying indoors!

What umbrella do you choose - and what does it say about you?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

You Are 68% Interesting

"You are a fairly interesting person. Many people find you to be intriguing. You have a dynamic, adventurous life ... a life that others envy. You are genuinely interested in and open to the world. You love making new friends, and you're always up for an unusual experience. Like everyone else, you can get a bit boring from time to time. That's normal. But unlike everyone else, you can pull yourself out of a rut."

(Believe me, that last one is getting harder to pull off!)

Are You Boring or Interesting?

Interesting that bit about "... a life that others envy." Of course, I'd counter that if anyone actually tried living my life now, they'd soon have a very different idea of it. To be honest, I consider 68% to be a fail mark, but then I suppose this is a subjective score. I'm certain, however, that I could be a lot more interesting - and I'm sure I was once - if I was still able to get around and do more and varied things, had the energy to have hobbies and make things, etc.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Extraverted Intuition

"You are a true wordsmith and a master of words. You are original, spontaneous, and a true inspiration. Highly energetic, you are up for any challenge. You are entertaining and engaging ... both to friends and strangers."

What's Your Personality Cluster?

Friday, 19 February 2010

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

Anyone who has ever learned to type (I think I learned from the 1890 book, when it was still relatively new) will know the significance of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", an English-language pangram (a phrase that contains all of the letters of the alphabet). Well, this shows it was not just "made-up" for the purpose. Brown foxes do jump over lazy dogs! Smile

Baby Boomer

As far as I'm concerned, I don't belong in any pigeon hole, but I also realize that, ironically, I'm "unique, just like everyone else". This appears to confirm it:

"You fit in best with people born between 1943 and 1960 (That's funny, I was actually born in 1957). You are optimistic, rebellious, and even a little self centered. (Who me, me, me?) You still believe that you will change the world. (What a silly bloody fool!) You detest authority and rules. Deep down, you're a non conformist."

What Generation Do You Belong In?

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Five Factor Personality Test

They get all this from 30 seconds worth of questions? :)

Extroversion: You have high extroversion. You are outgoing and engaging with both strangers and friends. You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation. Enthusiastic and fun, you're the first to say "let's go!"

Conscientiousness: You have medium conscientiousness. You're generally good at balancing work and play. When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done. But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness: You have medium agreeableness. You're generally a friendly and trusting person. But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism. You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.

Neuroticism: You have high neuroticism. It's easy for you to feel shaken, worried, or depressed. You often worry, and your worries prevent you from living life fully. You tend to be emotionally reactive and moody. Your either flying very high or feeling very low.

Openness to experience: Your openness to new experiences is high. In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas. You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits. A great connoisseur of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

The Five Factor Personality Test

Can't say fairer than that. So I'm neurotic? There are worse defects, probably. At least I do feel emotions and, show them and, in my defence, I'd say that, given some of the shit I've had to live through (not even 10% of which has ever been posted here), this is no surprise at all. Though I do disagree with "reactive", because that's precisely what I see as wrong with the rest of the immature world, so I go to lengths to think through my own perceptions to avoid that trait.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Jailbreak? Please?

image By Rosemary Lee

Sometimes you feel like you're a prisoner in your own body. You don't know where the pain is originating from. You can't pinpoint it. It is always there.

Some days are better than others. The trigger points are so tender to the touch. I would have never believed it. Everything hurts to be touched. I feel like there is an extreme amount of pressure when I'm hardly being touched at all and ALL of them hurt.

I guess my central nervous system is on hyper-drive. Great. Just one more thing that's haywire. I can handle the dull ache. Pain medication seems to take the edge off that. It's the migrating voodoo pain that jumps up and slaps you in the face that I find so life altering. You just start to act "normal" (which I've never been) and the pain decides you need a gentle reminder of what your new life is to be. This I find hard to accept.

What I find fascinating is that accident or trauma can trigger this disease. This makes sense, at least in my case. I could handle my back pain before the crash. I always knew that once or twice a year my back would twinge and I'd be laid up a week. No problem. Since this accident a year and a half ago, something changed. My work life and personal life could no longer be "handled." I've felt different and everything has fallen apart.

The brain fog, the constant pain makes working with contracts impossible. I have to read and re-read. I forget things and that is not a real impressive attribute for a sales agent to have. It's the feeling of always being off balance. It's trying to smile so no one knows that you're ready to scream from the pain. It's always wanting to be normal when you're feeling anything but. This is already an invisible disease and to constantly make explanations about how you feel is so draining. Then to top it all off you constantly hear, "well I'm tired too," or "just get up and move around and you'll feel better."

The problem is that the domino was tripped when I got hit and NOTHING has been the same since. I've spent fortunes on doctors and tests and tests and more tests. The last round of blood work clocked in at over $6000.00. I can't continue like this and wait for a group of insurance doctors to decide whether I was "really" disabled while working at my former company. Oh yes, I love watching my career go down the toilet along with any money that I had left after all these months not working. Yep, it's just all fun and games.

I'm at a crossroads and I guess I'll find out which way I have to go.

I've never been good at directions.

Rosemary Lee has been a Las Vegas real estate broker and new home sales agent for the last 23 years. Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia she has worked on support and help with humor for those suffering with this neuroendrocrine immune disorder along with her views on life from her blog.

You Are 20% British

Last time I did this quiz, I scored 35% and was called "a half hearted Anglophile … in other words, a piss poor Brit". (Which is exactly what I'd expect.) As you can see, another year and a bit in the country has done nothing to improve my score. It's done nothing to improve Britain either!

image "Listen mate - you're definitely not British. Or Australian. Or Canadian even. British culture is simply not your cup of tea. If it just so happens that you live or come from Great Britain, you're still not British. There's not really anything British about you. Do you even like football matches or beer?"

How British Are You?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Interpersonal Intelligence

"You shine in your ability to relate to and understand others. Good at seeing others' points of view, you get how people think and feel. You have an uncanny ability to sense true feelings, intentions, and motivations. A natural born leader, you are great at teaching and mediating conflict. You would make a good counsellor, salesperson, politician, or business person."

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

Support for tired necks

image Oh look, this is exactly what I need to keep my tired head upright, since my painful, fatigued neck doesn't seem to want to the job unaided any more.

They don't seem to do an adult version. Well, yes, there are those Inflatable Neck Pillows and I find it works better for me if I place it behind my head with the ends sticking up like rabbit ears (suitably positioned at the nape of the neck), instead of wearing it around the neck. That makes it cooler, as well as giving the head more "vertical hold," like in the kid version.

I doubt I look anywhere near as cute tho! Disappointed

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Visionary

You are charming, outgoing, friendly. You make a good first impression. You possess good negotiating skills and can convince anyone of anything. Happy to be the center of attention, you love to tell stories and show off.

You're very clever, but not disciplined enough to do well in structured environments. (That's OK, 'coz I don't want to.)

In love, you see everything as a grand adventure. You enjoy taking risks for love. And if things don't work out, you're usually not too much worse for wear!

You would make a great entrepreneur, marketing executive, or actor. At work, you need a lot of freedom to pursue your own path and vision.

How you see yourself: Analytical, creative, and peaceful.

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Detached, wishy-washy, and superficial.

What's Your Personality Type?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Fighting to stay awake

Ram statues at Karnak Could do with someone to stand under my chin to keep my head up, just like these rams at Karnak!

This morning I just could not move to get out of bed. Despite sleeping reasonably well - at least several hours, during which I wasn't half awake, vividly dreaming or otherwise semi-conscious, as I often am - yet, I feel utterly and physically exhausted, limp and heavy, where every movement or even thought requires supreme effort.

Things weren't much better yesterday, when almost as soon as I got up, I was yawning and finding it hard to stay awake.

On Friday, I just couldn't keep awake.

As usual on the day after an outing, I developed all the classic feverish symptoms of Post-Exertional Malaise among them; sore throat and swollen glands, headache, aches, weakness, trembling ... By mid-afternoon, I could no longer keep my eyes open and had a couple of hours' siesta, got up, made a quick dinner and was back to sleep again within a couple of hours.

On Thursday, I'd gone out to my pain group meeting. Before I got there, I'd walked into town to collect a repeat prescription and pick up a few items of shopping from just a handful of stores (I wanted to go the the bank too, but I just couldn't have managed any more that day), then spent a very pleasant enough hour or so, listening to an interesting talk and looking at photos from the speaker's trip to Egypt. Went out at about 11.30 and was back around 3 p.m.

The group sometimes gets speakers to talk about health matters, but this was a pleasant diversion instead. It made me think I could do the same with my photos from Tenerife and, perhaps show people a side of the island they probably don't even know exists - except I don't have the right equipment, couldn't justify the cost of a projector and wouldn't have transport or energy.

When I got home on Thursday, even though I'd been sitting for that hour or so and been given a lift home, I was still sweating profusely from the now inevitable hot flushes. I'm constantly either too cold, or too hot and never comfortable. Basically, if I move, I overheat like an old boiler whose thermostat is fucked. The outside temperature was hovering around freezing, but I had my coat over my arm, because I couldn't stand to wear it and was sweating bollocks (OK, I would have if I had any) dripping wet, hair limp and sticking to my head, while walking through snow flurries!

And I'm on drugs twice a day to *control* this already. Looks like I need to up the dose.

My face gets so red and I now have so many broken veins on my skin from the overheating that I've had to buy Vitamin K cream to try to repair them and green make-up to hide them.

Yet indoors, it will be 20 degrees centigrade, but I'll feel icy and wrap myself in blankets.

There's no sense trying to work out any logic to this failed thermoregulation. It just is.

At the meeting I succumbed to the temptation of one solitary fancy cake - and quickly paid for my pleasure as my stomach blew up into a solid, bloated and uncomfortable 9-month sized bump.

Just for those few hours, I wore an acrylic jumper and where it had a seam on the shoulder, it rubbed and irritated a spot on my skin leaving it raw and in the sort of pain you might expect from bad sunburn or if you'd had your skin stripped off. Once clothes rub spots like this, they remain sensitive forever, so I'll have to get rid of the jumper now.

Thursday evening, I was struggling to stay awake even before dinner, I successfully fought it then, but succumbed shortly afterwards, only to wake up again at midnight and then spend most of the night awake because of the tremendous pain in my hips, legs and feet.

My thigh muscles had gone into spasm, contracting and refusing to work in the cold - despite me overheating - and the resultant burning pain right down to the bone was excruciating.

Pain was also throbbing and shooting through my calf muscles and the pain down the front of my shins and in my ankles that always follows after being vertical or seated, even for a moment (caused by the pooling of blood, because of bad circulation due to orthostatic intolerance) was still dreadful, even though I'd sought to mitigate it by wearing compression flight socks.

And from both the exertion and the cold, the joints in my neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles and feet are all once more popping and clicking painfully.

There is no position in which I can get comfortable, even lying down. It is often too painful to do anything. I couldn't even concentrate on banal TV, was in tears and at the point of screaming.

On top of that, my neck has "gone" again, such that every movement is painful and I can bearly support my head, needing to keep it upright with a U-shaped inflatable neck cushion and propped against pillows. My arms ache, my wrists and hands have been throbbing with pain, my shoulders ache and my back feels like it's broken. And that's now, 3 days after the exertion. For the last 3 days I've felt so ill I couldn't get the physical or mental faculties together to write this.

The pain in my legs and feet today is still so bad that I've had to intermittently use childbirth-like breathing exercises to try to withstand and distract myself from it - and it ain't working.

And this is how it goes every time I have to go out to any appointment. It will take another couple of days to begin to feel anything like human - although it ain't ever that great - then I'll have to start taking it easy in preparation for the next appointment, or suffer worse consequences.

The only outings I get now are for medical appointments or help groups (and I don't always manage to get to the latter if they're too close to other events). This isn't enough social interaction, yet is too much for me: the price, in terms of pain, exhaustion and feeling like shit for days on end that I have to pay to attend these appointments far outweighs any benefits I could get from them.

There's a meeting of my fibromyalgia group tomorrow and I really like going to those, because I get a chance to see new friends and acquaintances and always benefit from the discussions in the meetings themselves, but I'm just not sure I'm up to travelling, sitting or even thinking.

About all I can manage to do these days is to get up to go to the loo and to get myself and the cats something easy and quick to eat - as long as it doesn't require peeling or standing - three times a day and, just from those *exertions*, I'm ready to collapse with exhaustion again each time.

And if I don't get up and get it myself, nobody else will, no matter how ill I am!

I know exactly why some prefer to end it all than suffer this kind of non-life.

You Are 98% Real

"There's hardly a person on this earth more real than you are. You have no problem showing people who you are, flaws and all. For you, there couldn't be any other way. Because it's way too stressful to live an inauthentic life. [True] You're very comfortable with yourself. And because of this, you're able to live an exciting, interesting, and challenging life."

Basically true, but surely, nobody is that real? :-)

How Real Are You?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The case against coffee

image "This study looked at how drinking a cup of caffeinated espresso affected arterial blood pressure and blood flow up to an hour afterwards. Although caffeinated espresso did appear to alter measurements of these compared to decaffeinated espresso ..."

Although the NHS don't see anything conclusive in the study (nor do I, as it was so small and I would have ignored it completely, since the story also appeared in the Daily Mail), but I do wonder if the changes to blood flow in persons whose blood flow is already suspect - through orthostatic intolerance, for instance - provides yet another reason why we should avoid caffeine.

Previously, I've not worried about coffee's effects on blood pressure, because mine is always rather low, but any adverse effect on blood flow is bound to make OI symptoms worse.

With fibromyalgia, it's already recommended that we avoid coffee and caffeinated teas, which I do mostly, by drinking water or herbal, green or redbush tea during the day, but I really crave my first coffee every morning. It's the only one I have now, because I'd been having some pretty horrible symptoms of intolerance lately, but I'm not ready to give it up completely.

Coffee is pretty much my last remaining pleasure and it's been my salvation for dealing with nicotine withdrawal symptoms over the last couple of years or so. It's worked for me and there were probably worse things I could have leaned on, but it was probably not a good idea: "Nicotine suppresses the effect of caffeine, cutting some of its stimulating properties in half or even a little more. Thus, the impact of caffeine increases when you quit smoking cigarettes."

Which might explain the increase in the jitters and other symptoms of intolerance and I suppose there's a chance that these will regulate themselves to be less of a problem as time goes on.

And, of course, I developed a taste for good coffee from 16 years in Spain, which means that the decaffeinated dishwater crap - yes, I tried it - just doesn't do it for me.

As I see it, I merely have yet another choice between two different types of misery and certainly no option that is really acceptable. Giving up coffee is something one could, of course, manage to put up with, if it weren't for all the other things I've already given up - like life!

Coffee and blood flow

You Are Really Not Happy

This result really is a major understatement:

"You may have noticed that things aren't going too well for you lately. Your life never used to be like this, but it seems like happiness is slipping away from you. You definitely need a change, because whatever you have going on isn't working. It's time for you to shake things up - even if it means totally changing your life path."

No matter how bad things got in Tenerife (and some of the treatment I got as a single foreign woman was pretty ugly), or how hungry - I mean genuinely could not afford to buy food type hungry - I was, I'd made a pact with myself to look for the beauty in the world around me, did so and this was enough to keep me going on at least a medium-happy footing for most of the time.

Since I got back to the UK, I've been pushed to the limits so far that I've alternated between suicidal and murderous thoughts. Maybe not with total conviction, but certainly not in mere jest either. Really, I can find absolutely no reasons whatsoever to be at all happy.

How Happy Are You, Really?

Friday, 12 February 2010

There Are 0 Gaps in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:

No Gaps! Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge: Philosophy, Religion, Economics, Literature, History, Science, Art.

Knew I was a genius. Bloody know-it-all! :) At best, I might have expected result in the region of 60 - 70% and would have been content. Seriously, I expect I have lots of huge gaps.

Do You Have Gaps in Your Knowledge?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

100% Independent

"You do things your own way, and most people respect you for it ... Not that you'd care what anyone thinks of you!"

Are You an Independent Woman?

Yeah, I'd 100% agree with that! :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

For the last couple of days I've had a new pain (yeah, like I don't have enough already), this time, under my left tit: the larger, more droopy, more fibrocystic one of the two. It's a duller pain than "stitch" in your side, but this morning it was winding me and taking my breath away. On the outside, it feels like a nasty bruise to a rib. Now it's spread around to my back and is a nausea-inducing pain on the back of my ribcage, below my shoulder blade, that feels as if I've been punched there.

My lower back and neck both already ache so much that I'm having to prop myself up with a mountain of pillows, supports, inflatable neck cushion, etc. And I'm just tired, drowsy and listless.

Yesterday afternoon, my thigh muscles tightened into knots and ceased up again. My legs were reluctant to move, my knees became painful and sore and it felt as though my femurs had been replaced with rods of burning dry ice. This is nothing at all unusual: it comes and goes, but is a lot more frequent and painful in the UK. Usually it isn't a painful problem until I go outside in the cold though.

This is all on top of the near unbearable, constant pain in my hip.

Another problem I've had for a long time has been getting worse recently too. Back when I lived in the UK before, which started when I was a kid, but got much worse when I lived in Birmingham in the 80's and early 90's, was a pain in the palm of my left hand when it was cold that I can only describe as feeling like it's having the crucifiction nail driven through it. Never once had that problem in Tenerife, mind you.

Ever since I got back to the UK, this pain has constantly increased, along with the development of another new pain in my left wrist, arm and shoulder that I can only assume is carpel tunnel syndrome (it puzzles me why the left is more badly affected, when I am right handed, but I've given up trying to find logic in these ills.) Over the last few weeks, this has suddenly increased even more - it was already limiting my typing to 15 -30 minutes a day - and over the last few days, even when I'm not cold and not doing anything with that hand, the pain shoots and throbs right through it.

Now my right hand is starting to "complain" (with stiffness and aches) about excess mouse use.

In the last 24 hours, I've been making a concerted effort to avoid deliberately making my joints click when they feel tight, achy and as if swollen, since reading that it could make matters worse. I did it, almost involuntarily, because, although painful at the time, it did bring some relief. Instead, I try gently stretching the affected limb, but it has had the effect of making me feel all the more stiff, achy and decrepid. The only other help will be to take more warm showers.

Your Sensitivity Score: 81%

"You are an extremely sensitive person. You notice everything. You've probably been called overly sensitive before, and it's partially true. Highly sensitive people tend to be highly intelligent. And you just can't turn off that part of you."

So that's the reason, is it? Well, at least intelligence is a reasonable excuse. Oh yes, I've have been called overly sensitive more than once, like it was a bad thing, but even though I recognise that being so sensitive brings extra stress, I'd much rather be over sensitive than insensitive. I'd hate not to care either way, either about my own situation, or that of the rest of the world.

Are You Extremely Sensitive?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The whole world's gone nuts


When I was out on Friday (visiting a psychologist, ironically, but I do not infer that has anything to do with the overuse of the term NUTS herein), I popped into a health store for something to nibble for my lunch. Since my nearly vegan diet is short on protein, I like to get my daily NUTS.

This what I got. Look, I don't blame Neal's Yard, or even Holland & Barrett, because I'm sure this abomination is the sole responsibility of some anally-retentive, rule-obsessed, nannying "nutter" (pun intended, obviously) from the ever-present 'Elf and Safety Executive.

So, not only does this transparent package - you could see the NUTS before I ate them - have a title that mentions NUTS (on both sides), a list of ingredients that includes NUTS, an allergen information panel that mentions NUTS and a warning that small children can choke on NUTS ...

They still felt the need to add a 5th item: another warning that the product is packed in a factory where NUTS are handled. Well, I should bloody well hope so, or aren't these real cashew nuts?

All this repetition does is cause confusion. It's NUTS I tell you, NUTS!

My Hair Should Be Red

"You are a passionate person ... both in love and in life. You have many causes that are important to you. You can be very intense. You are very fiery. You speak up, and you don't mince words. You also have a very flamboyant personality. You love to show off. You are both eccentric and expressive. You like to share your unique point of view. You can become quite impassioned. So impassioned that you can seem a little overbearing."

What Color Hair Should You Have?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The last few days, after going out (to my assessment appointment at the Pain Unit in Poole) on Friday, I've been suffering the usual level of post-exertional maliase, sore throat, swollen glands, feverishness, aches and pains.

On top of that, now the temperature has dropped again, the pain in my hip has become excruciating to the point that I just cannot get into any position in which it is comfortable for more than a couple of minutes or that allows me to properly think and function.

The exercises that the physiotherapist gave me to do last week (my appointment was on Wednesday), specifically for this hip problem, have served only to increase the pain 10 fold too. The sideways movement more than the other two. I shall persevere as it may help with diagnosis, but as we discussed at the appointment, it seems to indicate that the problem cannot be sciatica and is thus yet another part of the fibromyalgia. That also means it isn't treatable.

The only relief, as I've constantly maintained, is to get back to a warmer, drier climate. This pain, which I have 24/7/365 here, I only felt badly once every few months or so when there was really bad weather in Tenerife, otherwise it simply did not bother me at all. Now I'm permanently stuck with it and most of the time it's unbearable.

Now the rest of my joints - simply all of them, from knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, wrists and every single one in my hands and feet - have come out in sympathy again and are painfully popping, clicking and banging away every time I move, stretch, etc.

Medical advice is that one should not deliberately make joints click, because the more you pop your joints the more you are introducing laxity and potential for injury, so it can make the situation worse, yet, I cannot keep them still, because it's an almost involuntary action to try to alliviate the pain and stiffening when they feel as though they are ceasing and swelling up. It's another no-win. It's another symptom I simply had never had in Tenerife.

This is not a joint problem due to lack of lubrication, so drugs, oils and supplements are not going to be much, if any, help. It requires exercise to strenghten them. And exercise is good for fibromyalgia, but it must be measured and balanced very, very carefully indeed so as not to cause further exhaustion or permanent damage with ME.

How I'm affected undoubtedly has to do with humidity and barometric pressure and has absolutely nothing to do with how cold I feel - often I can be sweating from head to foot with hot flushes - and putting on extra clothing or blankets only adds to the pain and does not help, but if the temperature of my environment drops below 20 degrees centigrade, then my pain elevates in the same way as it would if someone were to beat me from head to foot with a baseball bat.

Add to that today that I'm yawning, can hardly keep awake and can hardly sit up, because I am so exhausted - yet, I've had several nights of fairly decent, uninterrupted sleep - something almost unheard of. It makes no sense.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Post-Exertional Malaise and CFS

"Written questionnaires revealed that within 24 hours of the test, 85% of controls indicated full recovery, in contrast to 0 CFS patients. The remaining 15% of controls recovered within 48 hours of the test. In contrast, only 1 CFS patient recovered within 48 hours. Symptoms reported after the exercise test included fatigue, light-headedness, muscular/joint pain, cognitive dysfunction, headache, nausea, physical weakness, trembling/instability, insomnia, and sore throat/glands."

Post-Exertional Malaise and CFS

You Are a Life Blogger

Stating the bleeding obvious: "Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary. If it happens, you blog it. And you make it as entertaining as possible. You may be guilty of over-sharing a bit on your blog, but you can't help it. Your life is truly an open book. Or in this case, an open blog!"

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Conscience-soothing falsities

"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."

-- Mark Twain

Never stops being apt and timely, does it?

Your Greed Quotient: 19%

A low score to be proud of:

"You're anything but greedy. You're eager to share and give to others. For you, collecting material possessions is more trouble than it's worth!"

How Much Greed Do You Have?

How I stopped biting my nails

image "Still amazed it was that easy."

How I did it: I have a terrible admission to make, I probably started biting my nails when my first teeth came through and, give or take one or two occasions when I was able to stop temporarily - events which took time, difficulty, willpower and a lot of trickery such as false nails, nasty tasting fluids, etc. - I continued to gnaw away at my nails nervously, well into my 50's.

Yes, I know perfectly well how awful bitten nails on an adult looks!

Then one day, whilst perusing I spied a 79 pence MP3 entitled, "Stop Biting Your Skin And Nails Self Hypnosis" by Erick Brown Hypnotherapist

I'm a dreadful cynic: I don't even believe in hypnosis, but what the heck, I can afford to "waste" 79 pence and the 42 minutes to listen to it. So I did.

Hummm, yes, well, that's me educated.

I also frequently have trouble with insomnia and falling asleep, but I've yet to hear all the way through those 42 minutes, because this puts me to sleep long before that.

And, after two plays, despite mostly not hearing it (while conscious), I didn't bite my nails any more, I don't even want to bite my nails, I'm just not even tempted to bite my nails: it's like I never did. I don't even need to be using any willpower to remain on target.

Don't ask me how this worked and don't ask me to believe it really did, but it just is. :)

Could be worth 79 pence (about a dollar and a quarter) to you too.

It took me 2 days.

It made me

Saturday, 6 February 2010

People Envy Your Compassion

Very difficult to believe that anyone could envy me anything, however,

"You have a kind heart and an unusual empathy for all living creatures. You tend to absorb others' happiness and pain. People envy your compassion, and more importantly, the connections it helps you build. And compassionate as you are, you feel for them."

What Do People Envy About You?

Which is probably what makes it so hard for me to live in a world where compassion seems to be going out of fashion and nobody seems to have the slightest interest in empathy any more.

Fibromyalgia Test

No surprises here: my result from this online Fibromyalgia Test:

"your probability of having fibromyalgia is close to 100%"

That's probably because I do have fibromyalgia. But it's nice to get some additional feedback, especially in light of the fact that there are still people (with no medical training) who believe otherwise. They are wrong, of course, but somehow don't seem to want to believe that I might actually be telling the truth; that my rhematologist was right and my GP is right.

Friday, 5 February 2010


Today's gem (there's one similar every day.)

Before I went out (a medical appointment), I showered, naturally. While I was out, as usual, I suffered dreadful hot flushes, where sweat was running down my face and plastering my hair to my head and I came home with my clothes sopping wet from where I'd been sweating from head to foot. I felt incredibly uncomfortable and sticky, as well as the fact that I was exhausted and aching from the whole day's events. I changed as soon as I got home and after dinner, had another shower, because I needed it.

I'd finished and come out of the bathroom when mother went to the kitchen for something, from where I heard her "stage whisper", very clearly in a somewhat gruff, huffy tone that inferred some sort of problem - "in the shower again".

So I called her on it: told her I'd heard the stage whisper and informed her - not that I need to justify my needs - that I needed to shower because a) warm water is about the only thing that helps my aches and pains (this, I've needed to reiterate 1001 times already) and b) I'd had hot flushes and came home sticky.

Then I told her if she has anything else to say, to say it to my face.

Believe me, I have good hearing and I know what gruff, low, snarky tone of voice I heard, but she tried to spin it around, claiming that she had merely "wondered" (out loud) what the noise (of the shower) was. Bullshit.

OK, I'll ignore the wondering out loud part, because we all do it.

Actually, no we don't all do it in that manner.

And most people, even when they do try to spin lies, try to be more plausible and less blatantly deluded.

This is so unnecessary and makes daily life so unpleasant.

Your Attention Span is Short

"What attention span? It's difficult for anything to keep your interest. You are so easily distracted, it's a wonder you could finish this quiz! You find focusing a challenge. Your mind tends to wander to the strangest places.

While it may be hard for you to complete tasks, you're very creative. You are easily inspired, and you are often thinking of something interesting. The world would be a boring place without people like you."

How's Your Attention Span?

Er, there's a reason for this, put it down to fibro and the [prescription] drugs!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Udderly fascinating

You Are a Cow: You are strong and very determined. You can remain stoic when times are tough. You are stable and patient. You are able to do mundane tasks without resentment or boredom. You are a caring, nurturing creature. You are willing to sacrifice a lot to take care of those you love. You are smart and very observant. While you may seem passive, you are just taking in everything around you.

What Animal Are You?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Reluctant Shopper

shopping-bags"You really don't enjoy shopping. For you, it's just another chore. You approach shopping systematically. You research what you're going to buy and come prepared with a list. Of all the types, you are the most likely to not buy things you don't need. You try to de-emphasize stuff in your life. You find shopping and buying things to be a rather empty experience."

What Kind of Shopper Are You?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


"You are the master of new ideas, techniques, and ways of looking at things. You are talented at structuring thoughts, decision making, clarifying, and making deadlines. You should major in: Marketing, Psychology, Design, Cognitive Science, Economics, Photography."

What Should You Major In?

Didn't know any of that at the time, but at college, I studied economics and psychology; at school I was described as having "a linguistic bent"; I've worked professionally in marketing, design and the media: I don't use it any more, but still carry a press card as a photo journalist. Back when I was still counting beans, most of my jobs involved designing and setting up new computerized systems and controls. Some of these I was actually good at, some of them I even enjoyed too. Most of them I simply don't have the brain capacity to cope with now. Fibromyalgia / ME has stolen them all.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Life Is A Minestrone

image You are a spontaneous person. You don't make or follow rules. You just go with your gut. You're eager to go wherever life takes you. If something doesn't work out, at least you've learned. Nutrition and eating healthy is very important to you. You eat your veggies. That being said, you're not a picky eater. You like all foods.

What Kind of Soup Are You?


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