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Category Archives: Mum

Hi all,

I know I’ve neglected this blog in favour of the immediacy and informality of Facebook, but I thought it was time I got back on here for those who avoid FB.

Not much has changed in the past six months.  I’m still in pain every day, I still sleep, watch TV, stitch, play Warcraft and obsess over my cats as distractions from every day pain.

It’s my birthday on Friday and the usual week of night terrors has begun again.  From my limited understanding of my psyche, these are a manifestation of grief.  I still miss my Trouble Cat who died on my birthday several years ago.  I suspect I will miss her for every day of my life.  She was my constant furry companion for 18 years, for at least half of those it was her and I alone against the world 🙂

When I quit work in early 2011 due to Bruce the migraine, there was an overwhelming feeling that drugs or surgery would fix the issue and I’d be back in a job by my birthday. Yet another birthday is coming and that hasn’t happened.  I grieve for the life I lost; the career ambitions, the financial independence, the feeling of making a difference in the world, of paying my taxes and being able to grumble about all of it.

Yet it is not all doom and gloom. Due to new meds I have been able to deal with the everyday noise of the neighbourhood without wanting to go postal on all of them. I’ve even started listening to music again, although in very small bursts, just a few minutes in the car when driving. I’m watching TV more now, instead of reading it 🙂

And of course I am still alive, the cats are all well, I’m affording the increase in my rent and still able to keep the car on the road and covering the winter heating bills.  Life could be so very much worse.

I couldn’t be where I am without the support of my parents, and my close friends the Dolley’s and Stephen (all of whom keep the cats and I fed each fortnight).  I was going to type fed and sane, but well sanity is over-rated 🙂

So what about the rest of you?  Bring my up to date on your life – especially if you are not one I chat to on FB regularly.


A couple of weekends ago (a lifetime ago) my sister went into hospital with complications arising with her pregnancy (she was twelve weeks along).

Her two boys, Master 5 and Master 3 came to stay with mum and me full-time. I arranged for Master 5 to change schools and we made room for the boys in our lives.

My sister after a few days, unhappily, lost the baby. Mum spent most of her time travelling to and from the hospital helping my sister through her grief, and helping her partner through his issues. I spent my time with the boys, talking to teachers, walking Master 5 to school, enrolling Master 3 in the local library storytime, making lunches, helping with homework, teaching the boys to count and tell time and start to read and the endless endless clothes washing and washing dishes that happen with children in the house. I loved my bonding time with my nephews, but sad it had to be under such circumstances.

Now my sister is out of hospital, she is staying with us for a while to physically and emotionally recover. If any extended family members are reading this, and you don’t know mum’s phone number, ask Uncle Ross or Uncle Grahame.

Unfortunately the last couple of days have proven that there just isn’t enough room in mum’s little cottage for five people, so Abby and I are moving to Melbourne.  This move has been on the cards for a while, but my sister’s needs have sped up the timetable.  My sister and her kids need to bond again, and they all need mum now.

Abby was picked up by the ever wonderful Miss A this afternoon and will be staying with her for a few days before flying down. I’ll be travelling to Melbourne tomorrow via rail. Some friends had already arranged temporary accommodation for me next week for my specialists visit and they are happy for me to arrive a week early.

If all works out, it is a place Abby and I can move into for a long time. Meanwhile my sister can get the help she needs here.

Mum has a huge yard and unfortunately we haven’t been able to keep with up it.  Through serendipity last weekend, we now have a regular lawn care mowing service from here in the hamlet that is extremely reliable and affordable *and* we have a garden maintenance service from the next village over! He will be spending quite a bit of time over the next month or so licking the grounds into shape, but he is looking to expand his service into our hamlet, so once he has our place in shape, he will drop in for a weekly maintenance hour on his rounds.  This will keep the gardens looking great and improve mum’s mental health enormously.

For example, the front garden went from this:

Left Front Garden - Before photo

To this:

Right Front Garden - After photo

Some other areas he will work on over the coming weeks are like this one, where it’s now being regularly mowed, but the shrubs need to be weeded, pruned into shape and fertilised.

Side Yard - Photo taken 4 May 2012

I also have a full crop of medlars this year!  Does anyone have any medlar recipes to share? This tree is 6 foot tall; Ian – do you remember when we bought this one?

Medlar Tree in full fruit

And that fruit is huge – each one is larger than a plum! So … any suggestion on recipes?

In the meantime, we’re watching to see what comes up in the front garden – we have a lot of bulbs in there.  Also mum is looking for winter plants to pop in the garden.  I suggested Hellebores for a winter flower that copes with the frost.  Any other suggestions or recommendations?

Well last week’s update was a Thursday and Friendly Stitcher’s updates seem to be on a Thursday so Thursday I guess it is.

Two major derailment this week, Diablo III and the flu.  We are a plague house at present so thinking and typing through a head cold and a migraine, well let’s just say that I’ve managed to re-watch the entire of Season One of Murdoch Mysteries this week!

I received an invite to the Diablo III beta test as part of my World of Warcraft Annual Pass and, not having played the game before in any of its previous incarnations, nor bothering to read anything about it, I jumped straight in.  Four hours later, I emerged.  I then spent a number of days chatting and reading on the forums understanding how the game was supposed to work versus how I was playing it. For example I learned that single point-of-view was a feature of the game, not simply me not figuring out how to pan the camera angle 🙂   Final conclusion, will continue to play this as a “casual” game when it comes out in its proper format and would LOVE to find some friends to try the game as a group rather than solo.

Mum’s been off work. She’s in an “if you don’t go to work you don’t get paid” job which is ridiculous in a respite and health care worker for elderly, disabled and otherwise frail people. If mum goes to work with a cold, some of her patients can get pneumonia and die. She cannot just take a few over-the-counter meds and work through it, she must take the health of her patients into account.Also this week I had a number of very long and extremely polite  phone calls with Centrelink until they eventually decided that yes I was to be put back onto sickness benefits until after the specialists visit in June. I’ve also caught mum’s cold.  So life here has not been a bundle of laughs.

So no stitching on a secret project. No stashing. Stashing and spending hiatus again. Until Mum’s fully back at work we don’t know if we can afford the trip the Melbourne.

But this week, even with the flu developing and looking after Mrs Cranky-Pants all week, I did manage to get some stitching in.  Last night I finally finished Part One of Mouse’s Dawn of Spring SAL.

Dawn of Spring - Part 1 completed

This is stitched on a piece of untitled Dovestitch evenweave given to me by Tina last year.  I’ve stitched it as follows:

First row: Bane Berry Bright (Vicky Clayton)
Second Row: Bane Berry (Vicky Clayton)
Third Row Crossed Cushion Stitch: Camouflage (Caron Wildflowers)
Third Row Smyrna Crosses: Bane Berry Bright (Vicky Clayton)

I also noticed this week that I’ve written over 100 posts on Project-a-Day. Today’s post, when I get it written, will be post 110.  Wow!  I had no idea I had written that many!

Finally I must give a shout-out to the girls on Stitching Hangout, especially Sisu, Kay, Katie and Cyn who decided that as a Goth Tigger I needed a Pretty Pink Dress to wear, and recommended these …..

Hello Kitty Wedding Dress

Lolita Dress

Hideous Dress 1

They were egged on by Melissa, Tina, Lana, Colleen, Alana, Rae, Deb and Niina who all voted on which of these I should acquire (all of them, one said!)  Ha! It was all a plot by the Pink Brigade!  I see it all now! I’m not paranoid!  Who’s paranoid?  Who said that?  Where’s the pink? No more pink!!!!!!

Seriously, thanks for the laughs in the last few days ladies, I didn’t mention anything on list, but I really really needed the mental boost 🙂

So this week, to continue the Project-a-Day, Mouse’s SAL will probably be set aside until I’m over the flu as I need to concentrate to graph in my initials, so it looks like it’s back to my other Blue piece Turple!

My nephews are visiting regularly for weekends these days.  Although I do have a fairly eclectic DVD library, I had been recently buying DVDs specifically for the boys. Dora the Explorer. NumberJacks. The Magic School Bus.  We watch these together and then I pull up supplementary information on the Net after each episode and we chat about it all.

Needless to say I’ve been horribly accused by the boys’ parents and grandma of ONLY buying them educational materials. Personally I failed to see to see the problem seeing as I am the only on who is.  However today, I have rectified this issue.  For today I have ordered the box set of Bananaman!


Next on the list will probably be SuperTed and The Trap Door 🙂

Well the blog move has happened. As part of that, I lost I think *all* of my photo galleries and all of my links.  I’ve replaced the links as an RSS feed – so when you guys update your blogs, it will show on the right column over here.  I’m thinking of splitting the RSS feed even more into Designers, Friends, and Stitchers I follow.  That way I can see *your* posts faster!  I just haven’t gotten there yet.  I’m also not happy with the theme. So still more changes. And ALL of the galleries still need to be re-created! Oh Boy! And all of the links to the Project a Day posts to change and and and …

I have been doing a fair bit of work of the Project-a-Day blog but there too, more work needs to be done.  It’s still in better shape than this blog  If you have any comments, advice, thoughts, ideas, feedback on the new look for Project-a-Day I’d like to hear it 🙂

I’ve been stitching on the Joan Elliot SAL.  I’m only a third of the way through Part 2 and Part 3 comes out in a few hours. I’ve also been spending my nights helping mum with her Warcraft dungeon runs so for someone who has “nothing to do and all day to do it” I feel like I’m so far behind in everything! Oh for a working brain – I feel like I’m working in molasses most of the time.

Oh speaking of Warcraft do you remember this post on my friend who went missing?  Well I have more of the story now. E did have a bust-up with the Guild. And it appears she may have just name-changed her characters rather than deleted them. In the last couple of days, I’ve found all her alt characters listed back on our realm but in different guilds.  Her main character has not been found so she main have deleted that character or left it with the name change. I’m waiting for one of those characters to come online so I can talk to her.  The good news is she is still out there and it was a bust up not further ill-health.

Speaking of health, I didn’t write-up about my visit to the gynaecologist on the 14th did I?  Why do important things skip my mind?  The gynaecologist said that I was a unique case and totally out of her area of expertise. After listening to my theory on why I thought my migraines were hormonally influenced she said the exert in the field was Roger Hart, a Women’s Health Endocrinologist working in Perth! I almost smashed my head into the wall at that point. Why didn’t the GP, neurologist, neurosurgeon and endocrinologist I saw in Perth recommend him while I was still living there?

Anyway. The gynaecologist spoke to Roger, Roger spoke to my GP and my neurologist and a number of conference calls later the gynaecologist calls me back to inform me that Roger has spoken to a couple of his colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne about taking on my case. Their credentials and copy of a recent study on women, hormones and migraine are being sent to my GP.  My GP will ring me and discuss and recommend which of Roger’s colleagues I am to see.

The first part, the conference calls etc was done in a flurry in the first 24-48 hours but then the paperwork has stalled. I’ve rung the gynaecologists office a number of times but the paperwork just hasn’t made it out to my GP yet.

Today is a dreary, rainy day. Just perfect for stitching.

Do we still need to have a cup of tea in their kitchen and meet a member of their family before we can truly call someone a good friend?

Internet buddy. Online acquaintance. Possible axe murderer. How many put-downs can we use to describe people we interact with but have not met.

How is someone you talk to regularly over email, in a yahoo group, in a MMORG (e.g. World of Warcraft) any different from the conversations you have with work mates in a large organisation?

You don’t see them outside work, you don’t know their friends or relatives, you don’t know if they are feeding you a load of bullshit about their home life or telling you the truth. You “feel” whether it has “the ring of truth” usually based on their likeability and you decide whether to believe them, disbelieve them or to ignore it. Some you “click” with and you chat more to them and in time you become friends.

Isn’t that the same online?

Yes I have an axe to grind today. I’m down. I’m upset. I’m worried. One of the long-standing members of my Warcraft guild has left sometime over the past few weeks. Not just left the guild, but deleted her characters from Warcraft including a Level 85 that she’s had since Warcraft first came out as an MMORG seven years ago.  This character had achievements and reputations that just don’t exist in the game anymore. The player was in the game daily up until New Years.  From what I understand, she was mostly housebound through a car accident a while ago and Warcraft stopped her from going stir crazy. It was a social hangout as well as an intellectual stimulant. Although we are on an US server, she lives in our time zone and she and mum would occasionally be up late talking into the night.  She was closer to mum’s age than mine.

This year she hasn’t been on as much and when I’ve asked she’s just said she’s been resting up for the raids (the guild raids once a week).  But she hasn’t even been doing that the last couple of weeks. I looked further last night and couldn’t find her in the guild roster. With some help this morning I learned how to search all characters and that’s how I learned all of her characters (well those I know how to spell) have been deleted.

Did she have a really big fight with the Guild and quit Warcraft after all those years? Or did the person behind the characters get too sick or die?

The Guild hierarchy aren’t saying.  I’ve asked a few of the co-GMs now and been completely ignored. My Guild is not a hard-core group, but I’m not a serious enough player for the core group to bother with. I don’t have a proper gaming set up (I’m using a laptop and it’s trackpad – no mouse). I don’t know all the cool moves and I haven’t been gaming forever so I don’t have prior raiding experience or pre-release dungeon experience. So the core group pretty much ignore mum and me and we just pootle about on our own and we help any lower characters on their way up to 85 when possible, where they surpass us and keep going 🙂

E was different. Because she had done it all, and possibly because she had difficulties now or possibly because it was always her nature, she liked helping out other characters too.  One night she picked up a Level 3 character on her Dragon (yes she had Vial of Sands) and spent 4 hours taking that little character all over the World showing it beautiful vistas and helping it buy all the vendor-purchasable pets.  That character was one of mum’s new ones but E didn’t know that until part way through. She liked showing new players around and showing them the little places. Little groves and outcrops where you just stand and watch the prairie dogs play or the sun go down at a certain place. Things that the developers put into the game but most gamers are too busy to notice.  E showed mum lots of these places one night and they talked and laughed for hours.

They talked together a fair bit after that late last year and early this year but then E stopped coming on, or we’d just miss her.  It wasn’t personal, we aren’t that big an influence and it’s pretty easy to /ignore someone, which is I’m sure what the Guild GMs are doing to me now for asking a question they don’t want to answer.

Either there’s been a bust-up which they don’t want to admit to and most of them would be feeling pretty terrible. Or she’s possibly died and one of her sons has closed her account, which would have the rest of the core group feeling very upset.  Either way they have no interest in talking to an outsider.

Mum’s been worried about E for over a week but only told me last night. I haven’t told mum yet that E the character, and in fact all her characters are gone / deleted.  E the person I have no idea.

Is mum’s worrying about E not friendship?

If you are just here for the cross-stitching feel free to delete these posts unread – I wont be offended 🙂

It’s been a tough week this week, and it’s only Tuesday. I had the Implanon out of my arm last Thursday.

Recap for those new to the blog:

To recap, the world-leading neurologist gave up on my case last November and said my migraine was intractable. In this case I presume he meant unstoppable. He offered one last straw option which I declined.

I’ve booked in to see a Gynaecologist in February who (I hope) specialises in hormone research as this is the one area my previous specialist knew nothing about. There is a growing body of evidence of women 35-45 with intractable migraines relating to hormonal issues. I want to investigate this further.

Near the time the migraine started (I have had the same migraine for nearly two years) I had an Implanon inserted into my arm as the oral contraceptive was contra-indicated for someone with my type of migraines. I’ve grown suspicious for varying reasons discussed previously that, regardless of assurances by my specialist, the Implanon has affected the migraine or the drug trials attempting to treat the migraine. I finally convinced my GP to remove the Implanon last week.

Back to the news:

Well as soon as the Implanon was out the migraine pain became worse.  From Thursday night until now the pain has been heightened and the visceral wanting to kill whatever is hurting my head is back.  So the specialist was wrong, the Implanon was affecting the drugs and the migraine.  I was also wrong, it seems the Implanon was assisting them.

The last few days have been a hormonal roller coaster. Laughing at a joke on one of the email groups one minute, crying my eyes out in despair on the shower a short time after. I should have expected that. Probably PMS.

Also the bad case of diarrhea from last year has hit me again and mum and I are at odds over what has caused it. I’ll get the GP to run some tests, it will be easier. Either way, 40-year-old women should not get nappy rash! (Right have you gone running away now?)

Mum was on the injured list herself for a few days, due to a sore hip and like most caregivers, makes a horrendous patient (I’m going to get killed if she reads that – so if there aren’t any more posts you will know why). I swear next time she’s hurt I’m going to get the GP or the chiropractor to drive us home and inject her with a bottle of horse Valium so she stays unconscious until her body heals.

Still nothing on the stitching front. Or the reading front.  The TV is mostly tuned to the Australian Open Tennis which would be perfect for stitching … We have been watching Season 2 of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) the 2000-2001 remake. Oh and watched the finale of Season 1 of Rizzoli and Isles.  Wow!  Didn’t realise it was the final episode until the last few seconds …

So that’s my fun-filled, jet-setting, rock-star life.

I did get presents in the mail. Lovely lovely presents. But I will take pictures and give them their own blog posts.  Honestly …. and all the previous presents {slinks off in horrible embarrassment}

After a week and a half of wrangling with sticky tape, scissors no short-term memory and being forced into limited handwriting, all the parcels for the rest of the year are finally off into the mail. Of course the flip side is no more casual flirting with the cute guy from the town post office but there’s still the Saturday morning mutual T-shirt appreciation with the cute guy at the local library (his wife and I shop similar stores).

The Grey Thing (or walking stomach) is pretty much a fixture around here.  We have to lock her out of the house when we feed Abby bu other than that, she’s moved in.  Abby likes to be leisurely about her dinner.  Eat some, play, do a perimeter check out each of the windows, eat some more, nap, eat some more.  If the Grey Thing is inside, she nabs Abby’s food as soon as she leaves it, so Abby feels stressed and trapped by her food.  We’ve sat next to the Grey Thing and told her no and stamped out feet which usually makes her run in terror but she;s a different animal when there’s food out. So we lock her out until Abby’s eaten her fill then we wash the dishes and let her back in.  Once she knows there’s food to steal, she’s back to being a placid cat instead of a desperate animal. She’s growing fat and been wormed and fleaed etc so I think it’s just psychological from being hungry for so long.

She’s learning to play from watching Abby too – she’s now zooming down the hallways like it’s a racetrack but looks confused at the other end.  She wont play with us humans yet – she will let us pat her, but still bolts if we make an unexpected move or sound.  She’s watched Abby play outside and the Grey Cat was outside playing with a leaf this morning.  Catching it, throwing it in the air, swiping at it as it came down – I don’t think she’s ever done that before.

It’s a cool day today, looks like rain is imminent. It’s all quiet outside, I can just hear some birds and the frogs at the creek.  Abby is outside, mum is at work.  I’ve taken the morning to wrap most of mum’s Christmas gifts and hide them again as well as a little house tidying.  Right now in the clean lounge room it’s just me and the Grey Thing.  She’s asleep on the two-seater couch across from me.  One side has my knitted blanket that Abby sleeps on, the other side is just couch.  She’s sleeping on the couch side.  The fourth and last seat in the lounge room has now been claimed.  Visitors beware 🙂

Its been one of those weeks ….

My specialist gave up on me, I’m allergic to the water supply, family dramas galore and in the tradition of the best songs my best friend’s dog died.

The sad news first: Tuesday morning I received a txt from Miss A. Her beloved Tane had just died.  She was gambolling around the yard then just laid down and died, they think it was a stroke. So a good way to go – she was happy and well-loved.  Miss A is of course as heart-broken as any of us would be.  Tane was the canine that turned a life-long cat person into a dog-person; truly an exceptional personality! And one that will be sorely missed 🙁

On Monday:  We saw my world leading consulting neurologist on Monday to report that the Parnate was a failure. He didn’t believe the side-effects I had while on the drug.  “It’s supposed to be an anti-depressant; it’s not supposed to make you depressed!” and then he prescribed one last course of drugs. A 3-5 day lignocaine infusion.

Unfortunately in Australia, this infusion is only legal for emergency use.  So to be eligible for this I would go into Canberra intentionally place myself to I could get the worse possible migraine triggering, then call an ambulance then convince Canberra’s largest hospital (with chronic bed shortage) that although I have self managed my migraine pain with a cool quiet environment for the last two years, I really now needed to be in a noisy light filled hospital for 3-5 so my specialist can administer this drug.

This drug which has been trialled once in Australia and only gave lasting relief to 4 out of 19 patients. And you want me to talk my way in to an elective procedure via an emergency route. At the busiest time of year. In the busiest hospital in the region.

The specialist said it was up to me to get myself into that hospital bed and to call him in when I was there and there was nothing further he could do for me. This was it. There was no other option. He was out of options. There is nothing further can do for me.  He then walked past both of us out into the waiting room and called the next patients into the office.

To say mum and I were a little stunned was an understatement.  We were shocked.  Shocked and sickened ; at the lack of ethics and we felt cast off; rudderless.

It’s now Friday.  We’ve given it a lot of thought and the one area that Dr Andrews didn’t know anything about was the Implanon in my arm.  A few times I think the different drugs he gave me overrode the implant and I wonder if the implant is playing a role in all of this because there is a link between women 35-45 and migraine and hormones. Dr Andrews knew nothing about artificial hormone regulators or how they affected any of the drugs he put me on.  So we talked all of this through with my GP this week and he gave me the number of a gynecologist in Canberra who specialists in hormone research.  Some gynecologists later (most are only interested in hormonal issues related to fertility it seems and I’m not interested in getting pregnant as a way to relieve the migraine thank you very much) I have an appointment with one in February.

In the meantime I’m thinking I should just get the thing removed and see how things go for the next month anyway.  If it makes no difference I can always get it put back in.

Next issue: Icky.  I’ve been having intermittent without warning explosive diarrhea for a few months.  Lets just say that adult diapers will never be on my fantasy list ever! Euwwwww ….  Anyway it turns out there’s a bug in the local water supply that the locals are used to but I’m not.  So it’s some heavy-duty antibiotics and then bottled water or gin & tonics for at least the next month, preferably two.  The GP recommends the gin & tonics, costs the same as the bottled water but makes Christmas with the relatives easier to bear!  I like my GP 🙂

Which bring us to the last issue: Family.  This one has taken most of the mental energy and time outside of the bathroom this week.  I’ve also been doing a fair amount of Warcraft. Thank you to Stephen for explaining to me years ago how therapeutic pixel-killing really is! Anyway, the house my sister was renting was sold and Kiddo and the kids have to be out by Sunday.  This is unfortunately not the time of year to be looking for a new house to rent, especially in her area.  However as Master 5 is enrolled in the local school to start in February she really wanted to stay local, so finally she found a place in Thursday.

In between trips to the bathroom and the GPs I gave Kiddo lots of packing advice and encouragement and helped mediate family dynamics.  Who knew all those trainer  mediation skills and techniques would work on family members ?!

So this morning mum and I made a heap of sandwiches and a big thermos of tea and mum;s driving that over and bringing the grandkids back here.  Dad’s turning up over there and helping Kiddo and her partner do the actual move. I’m getting dressed shortly, baking a cake for the kids and hiding all the Christmas presents before Master 5 sticks his goddamn nose where it don’t belong.  Hmmm better do that bit first.

So yes – migraine city for me for the weekend, but this way Dad Kiddo and her partner can her stuff moved to the new place without the kids under foot.  And over here, Master 3 and Master 5 can play outside with Grandma while I continue to wonder why we do not spend more time decorating the bathroom.  Surely we need a trompe l’oeil in there.


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