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Archive for July, 2011

As regular readers of this blog (read people I force into reading this) you will know that I mainly use this as a method for clearing out what’s in my head. If I don’t write some things down they just run around and around in my head and slowly drive me insane. I think this is where the idea of me wanting to be a writer comes from. In reality, maybe I don’t want to be a writer; maybe I’m just seeking the peace that comes when you’ve got something out of your head.

And now, with that last line I have a whole new string of ideas spinning around in my head about the nature of my writing process. I’m sure they will work its way out as a blog post at some point. But that’s not what this one is about.

  • How do you measure your worth as a person?
  • How do you know when you are being useful in your life to others?

For some people these are really hard-to-answer, deep questions. Not so for me. I figured them both out at about the age of 13 when I was just starting the final two years of my GCSEs. Basically it goes like this:

I both have ‘worth’ and ‘use’ if the following conditions are met:

  1. I’m in a job where I feel that I’m doing some good to someone else somewhere. The more good I feel this job has the more ‘useful’ I feel. This explains, for those who are interested, my choice in jobs: The charity and education sector.
  2. I’m getting paid what I feel is a reasonable amount of money. The more money I get paid the more ‘worth’ I feel I have.
  3. The above two are augmented by how well I’m doing compared to my ‘benchmarks’. Throughout my life I have met people – some I like and some I don’t – whom I judge myself against. So the ‘usefulness’ I feel in point 1 can be boosted or reduced if one of my benchmarks has a job that I feel is more ‘useful’ than mine. Same with salary in point 2.

Now, this may make me shallow. And I can understand why people think that. But this system has worked for me. It’s what makes me strive forward; there are always more ways to help and there’s always more money to be made. Plus, I have to keep up with my ‘benchmarks’ – can’t have them outdoing me.

I know that the more I work – the harder I work – the more I help other people. The harder I work, the more money I get and the more worthwhile I feel. I can provide for my family and friends.

Now this is becoming a problem with my current situation. I am not at work…

…and it’s killing me.

I know that I still technically have the role – but it’s not me there doing it. I’m not doing something which is of use to people. I’m not doing anything. So, at the moment, while I am not working, I am not useful.

Also, because I’m off on long-term sick, quite rightly, I’m not being paid my full wage any more. In fact in the next couple of weeks I will drop from half-pay down to nothing. In my eyes, my ‘worth’ is being reduced to nothing.

Then bring in my benchmarks. As I said, some of them are people that I like – some are very close friends – and I’m happy for them. They have great jobs in which they do great work. Seriously, I would employ them without question. But that doesn’t stop a part of me measuring myself against them. Right now, they’re amazing… and I’m not.

Some of my ‘benchmarks’ are people I don’t like… And this is worse. I measure myself against these people who I don’t think are worth much and I’m lacking… I’m below zero.

I don’t see a way to fix this short of throwing out the system which defines me as a person. And even if I did throw it out, I’d need something to replace it with.

Part of me thinks it would be better to push myself even more. Go back to work. Get out of bed, use energy drinks, go to work, sleep as soon as I get in. This would give me all three of my points back. I would have both ‘worth’ and ‘use’. But what would this do to my health?

However, there is an argument that me getting worse is not always a bad thing. As it stands I’m not a priority transplant case – or at least, when I get listed I won’t be. If I make myself more ill, I could push myself up the list.

And ultimately, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

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Work and energy

I’m not working at the moment. Which is a first for me. Since I left university I have been in constant employment. I handed in my last piece of coursework and the next week I started my very first job. Since then, whenever changing jobs I have left work on a Friday in one place and started at the next on Monday.

To put it simply, I love working. I love doing something which – in my opinion – is helping someone, somewhere. I love the people around me. I’m sure I get on a lot of people’s nerves, I smile too much, laugh and walk down the corridors humming to myself.

But at the moment, I just can’t work. I have no energy at all. My morning currently consists of the following:

  • Wake up when my husband leaves for work
  • Check my emails
  • Have a shower
  • Get dressed
  • Walk downstairs
  • Lay on the sofa for a hour to get my energy back
  • Make breakfast
  • Eat breakfast
  • Lay on the sofa for a hour or two feeling very ill and trying to get my energy back

It looks silly when it is written down, but honestly, getting up, showered and changed really takes it out of me. My mind is fine but my legs feel like they have been running for miles. I literally have no energy.

But it is possible to adjust to this routine. Doing the above for a few days and by midday I am laying on the sofa thinking to myself, ‘Why am I not at work? This is stupid. I should be at work.’

And then I have a day like yesterday: I was at my parents as I had an appointment at the hospital with my specialists. I had to walk around a hospital for a bit, then sit on a train for an hour. Then walk from train station to my GPs to get a prescription and then get that filled at the pharmacy before getting a taxi home. Something which only 3 months ago would have been easy. This little jaunt still has me feeling tired now. I don’t even want to think how I would cope doing 8 hours at work, plus the commuting time.

I miss work. I miss being able to work. It looks like in the next couple of weeks, following the transplant assessment, I have some big decisions to make about work and what to do. I need money coming in. It’s not fair to rely solely on the hubby’s income.

Again, sorry for another moaning post…

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ERCP oops!

I left hospital the day after my ERCP eager to get home; I had a stargate boxset that wasn’t going to watch itself.

The night in the hospital had been a strange one. I had bad stomach pain and actually had to ask for painkillers. For those who don’t know me, this is very odd indeed. I never take painkillers.

I had a few paracetamol to get me through the night and a few more in the morning for discharge. They didn’t want to give me anything stronger due to the state of my liver. Three grams a day, no more.

I asked about the pain and was told it was probably where they had made a small hole inside me that was now healing along with the pain from the air I got pumped with so they could see.

I got home, watched some tv, avoided eating and drinking as that made the pain worse and settled down for another night of pain. ‘It’ll be better tomorrow,’ I figured.

And it was, for a bit. Maintaining one position in bed allowed me to get use to the pain, almost as if it wasn’t there. As long as I didn’t breathe too deep – or shallow – or cough, or laugh, sneeze or move I was relatively pain-free.

I moved downstairs and decided to watch some more stargate.

But the pain got worse and worse. I could hardly walk and the paracetamol just wasn’t helping.

I asked my PSC friends their advice in the Facebook group and got ordered to phone my consultant. He ordered me into hospital again.

My lovely parents drove 65 miles to pick me up (after having dropped me off only 24 hours earlier) and then drove me and the hubby 55 miles to the hospital.

It turns out that the poking and prodding from the ERCP caused my pancreas to get pissed. I have pancreatitis. A very painful ailment.

I now have a rolling dose of morphine available to me (every 3 hours) but even this can only take the edge off the pain. I’m on drip fluids as I can’t really eat or drink without pain. And antibiotics to help sort things out.

I’ll be here until I’m better. And I’ve promised not to put on a brave face. I am to be a wuss. Only leave when I feel no pain. This was my promise to my hubby which I will keep.

I have my teddy to look after me: Mr Long Legged Mac Teddy. I’ll try and add a picture.

Once again, apologies for any typos. I am writing this while a bit high on morphine on my iPhone.

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