Fibro Investiture

February 26, 2008 at 2:05 pm Leave a comment

I don’t know what’s wrong with me! This is the type of self-deprecating remark I became used to making at a time in my life when I would have been considered to be healthy and relatively fit. Unfortunately, this is the same type of remark I have just made; to myself while sitting in front of the computer and feeling absolutely dreadful, secure in the knowledge that I have a chronic pain condition and myalgic encephalitis.life-on-the-forest-floor.jpg

I’ve been working pretty hard recently, at making back some of the money which I have ‘squandered’ on craft materials. I even completed a set of wedding stationary for my friend whose happy day will be April 18th. This was my first wedding project; save a beautiful card for another friend back in October of last year.

I must stress that while money does change hands, there is little profit made as the amount of materials which have been purchased far exceeds the amount of so-called ‘profit’ made. Regardless, it is nice to feel that I am at least making good on my ingrained spending habits of the old days, ie when I had an income.

Should the Revenue Commissioners’ decide to question this fact, I am rather afraid that I will be in for a particularly nasty shock; despite the fact that I keep the receipts for virtually everything which is craft related. Unfortunately I also keep receipts for medical expenses, material items which might break or stop working; eg waffle maker, printer and so on. Basically I am the reincarnation of a Magpie from a previous life, I am a hoarder and a clutter monger; which makes for an interesting experience should I ever be asked to produce the relevant documents…

In my old life, ie the one before Fibromyalgia decided to steal it from me; I used to make decisions, advise and just do what came naturally to me. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that this had the capacity to ruin everything I knew and turn me into a gibbering wreck; and if I had, would I actually have done anything different?

Way back when, at the time I commenced my training; Health Education was the in-thing, especially in the city of Southampton. Cars caused bottom rust and we were going to save the world by practicing our nursing skills to superior standards and educating our patients in the field of illness prevention. The world would be perfect and we would command it!

A short time after I graduated, the epidemic MRSA struck. This was in 1988, the year I deserted the ship due to personal differences with persons to whom I had been engaged and subsequently fallen out with. I moved to the Leeds General Infirmary; ostensibly to be closer to a Theatre Course and the ENB 176 Post Graduate Certificate in Theatre Nursing.

The whole thing with MRSA was a mystery. It still is a mystery. I have my own theory abut its origins and research is gradually proving it to be correct. Adverts on the television advocate the cleansing of hands and the drama continues.

Prior to my fleeing from Southampton I had attended a compulsory Professional Development Course for newly qualified nurses. During the course we attended the microbiology laboratory; amongst other places and witnessed the beginnings of the damage control.

Two wards were identified as having the dreaded Super-Bug and had been shut down.To my horror I recognized my friends husband; named as one of the staff who had tested positive for having MRSA. Shortly afterwards I moved to a place where this curse of the modern day hospital patient had never been heard of…

The next big thing was Aids/HIV which broke at about the same time. This was followed by Hepatitis B. Now we have A, B & C and probably D, E & F too! As a first year I accidentally stuck myself on a used needle and was advised to update my tetanus shots…

What we didn’t worry about then has come to haunt us twenty years into the future. I first encountered Burn-Out in 1991 as a trusted and respected colleague took three months leave from the Operating Theatre Department. When she returned she looked like a crisp hollow shell of the woman I had once known.

They (who?) advocate stress as a killer. It has been associated with such greats asThe Big C, depression, alcoholism and substance abuse, and so the list goes; on and on and on… From a medical perspective I have been aware for decades that stress does funny things to the adrenal cortex and interferes with the production of hydro-cortisone, resulting in a reduced ability to cope with infection, stress of any type etc.

What I didn’t know then, and am still not so sure about now, is whether or not stress on a continued basis for a period of decades, rather than months is capable of inducing the symptoms of Fibromyalgia/CFDS/ME, etc. What I do know now is that my ability to cope with stress is severely diminished.

When I use the word stress in this context I am referring to physical, mental and emotional stress as each will take its toll in my otherwise mediocre health. There are good days and bad days; on the good I feel as though I should or even could return to my job as a junior manager in the operating theatres. On the bad days I am reminded how this prospect is utterly ridiculous in terms of the stamina that I lack, concentration that I now lack and memory which has totally deserted me. This is to say nothing of the extremes of discomfort experienced after just half an hour of standing still in one position…

Suffice to say that my career as a health care provider has resulted in self detriment and neglect of those I love. I am now paying the price; in relation to pursuing my interests and hobbies I can still occasionally indulge them, but only if I am prepared to pay a high price. Take my activities with the local Scout Troup for example; I can just about manage a five mile hike, but only if I am able to take sufficient rest during the hike and recuperate over the following week.

Last night I was invested. Simply put I was officially received into the Scout Troup as a Leader, having participated in activities with the Scouts over the preceding months. One of the most important parts of the ceremony is to be able to recite the Scout Prayer, which encompasses the whole ethos behind the movement. I have been reciting prayer, law and principles like a mad woman over the course of the past two weeks; lying in bed with pen and paper while trying to memorise the words.

As a Leader it is my responsibility to set an example worthy of following and in doing so I am supposed to adhere to this set of principles and be able to recite each in turn. It wouldn’t be acceptable for a brand new Leader to let the side down and be unable to recite the prayer at a public ceremony; it was a matter of honour!

Unbeknown to me I had got myself into a knot over this whole issue and consequently my memory suffered even more than usual. To make matters worse; I was to be invested first, before any of the other Leaders, Beavers, Cubs or Scouts, and worse again was the fact that the County Commissioner was to carry out the procedure with me!

When the time came I was able to get it over and done with, with aplomb. Through gritted teeth I was able to recite the prayer; reading it from a board laid upon the desk behind the venerable Commissioner who kindly reminded me to Smile! It was a relief to get it all over and done with and let the kids get on with their evening; after all it was merely a formality for me, wasn’t it?

Immediately afterwards I was so tired; absolutely washed out. I dragged my aching body from one position to another, directing the kids here, there and everywhere. I even managed to shake a few cold sweaty hands as I placed their new neckerchief’s around their very red necks and congratulate them as they made their inductions.

I broke up a quarrel between a cub scout and the one scout who forgot to wear his uniform. Unfortunately the cub was mine and the scout my friend from Monday nights and camp; a difficult situation dealt with by raised voices and dragging the younger boy off to the disabled loo for a private talking to…

When we three got home from the great night I can honestly claim to have been thoroughly exhausted and hopped straight into my bed. With DG away; working, I had it all to myself and had every intention of giving in to the yawns calling for sleep. Unfortunately, because it was late and I am afraid of its effects, I had yet to take the magic Amitryptilene tablet which causes me to sleep and so it was close to midnight when eventually my body gave up the good fight and demanded that I turn off the TV. I was to pretend to sleep, even if I was unable to and funny enough that was the last thought I had until the alarm rang out its first few bars at 07.29am this morning…

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Entry filed under: cfds, crafting, Fibromyalgia, health education, ME, myalgic encephalitis, nursing, polly peirce, Scouts, vinca cards, wedding stationary.

Visual Memories Easter Gluttony

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