Monday, 27 July 2009

More Of The Same

It's been one of those days today. I've been feeling desperately low and tears have flowed for no reason. I have managed to make myself a very tasty meal of wholewheat pasta and a delicious sauce and all washed down with lots of ice cold water.

I have been working on my crocheting and the scarf/stole is now almost at the stage where I start to decrease the number of stitches to even it off into a rectangle. Tomorrow will probably see me finishing that; then there will just be a few ends to darn in.

I've been watching various DVDs (some humorous, some dramatic) while I have been crocheting, in an effort to keep my mind occupied so that I don't think about how I am feeling. It will soon be time to go to bed and I shall read for a while before attempting to get to sleep.

Recent nights have been quite bad so I have been tending to lie in each morning, but tomorrow I have to get myself up and organised because I have to go to collect a parcel and then go to see my doctor. I'm hoping for a dry day tomorrow as I shall be doing a fair bit of walking and no hope of using any buses for the places that I have to visit.

And when I am feeling like this I find it difficult to find things to write about here, which is a shame because writing this blog has been one of the things that has helped me so much over the last year. But I shall keep trying to find things to write about and hope that sometimes I can manage something that visitors will enjoy reading.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

I decided that I needed a bit of a break from the knitting. I have all but finished the shawl that I was knitting; I just need to graft together the start and end of the edging and sew in the tail from the start of the work and then it is finished. This photograph shows it as it was a few days ago when I was still working on the edging.

I have started work on a second shawl using the same pattern but in a different colour and it is progressing but I made a mistake in it yesterday and I need to unpick several rows to get back to where I made the mistake and I wasn't in the mood for unpicking today. Anyway, I had take a photograph of it the other day so that I could show There and Back what I was working on, so I might as well include it here so that you can see the new colourway.

So, as a change from my knitting from which I definitely needed a break, I have been doing some crochet today. I started crocheting a stole/scarf which is going to be a present for a friend a couple of weeks ago but I decided that it needed to be a bit wider than I had made it so this afternoon I unpicked most of what I had done so that I could get back to the point at which I could make it wider and then increased its width and then carried on adding to its length. I packed it away for the evening about an hour ago by which time I had reused all the wool that I had unpicked and had managed to get to the end of the first ball of wool. This seemed to be a really good place to stop for the day, but I will be back working on it tomorrow when I hope that I may manage to do sufficient work on it so that a second ball is completed. Here is a photograph of the work taken a few days ago before I decided to unpick most of it and rework it so that it was wider.

Another Presentation

I have to give another presentation about patients having access to their medical records this week. This time it is to some of the members of the local PCT including local council members and possibly local MPs.

The GP surgery at which I am registered has allowed its patients to have full access to their medical records for about 30 years and was the first in the country to allow patients access to their records online. While there are now 50 or more practices that allow this, it is something that is possible in at least 60% of the GP practices in the country and yet it is not yet available to patients even though it is available at no cost.

This week's presentation will be made using my PowerPoint slides because I have only a limited time in which to make my presentation, but I am sure that there will be lots of questions after the presentation; there always is.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

No Bed Of Roses

I'm spiralling down into a deep depression at the moment and activity is becoming something that is a real chore rather than something that is normal. I don't sleep properly at night and don't want to get out of bed in the morning.

I have managed to do a little bit of knitting and I am now working on the edging for the shawl that I have been knitting. So far I have completed a little more than half of one side of the square shawl. The length of time that it has taken me to knit this much indicates that it will take me about a week to complete it, although I am getting a little quicker as I progress. Not exactly a case of practice makes perfect, but practice does make faster.

The weather doesn't help to dispel the depression either. Day after day it rains and at times it is so cold a jumper is needed. As the end of July approaches we can only hope that August and September turn out to be better.

I shall carry on doing what I can to keep myself going. I'll keep taking the tablets, keep knitting when I can, read while I am able to concentrate, and try to do the things that I need to survive everyday life.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Not Exactly A Perfect Day

After a couple of nights where I haven't slept at all well, I sort of made up for it last night although it would probably be more true to say this morning because after an early morning (5am-ish) trip to the bathroom I went back to bed and fell into a deep sleep and then slept through until lunch time. Getting some sleep has meant that I have not got deeper into depression, but neither have I felt any better.

I have been having terrible problems with my knitting over the last week or so; it has meant that I seem to have spent more time unpicking it than actively knitting. However, this afternoon I corrected the last mistake that I found and I have managed to get beyond the point where I started finding mistakes and the end is in sight. Well, when I say the end, what I really mean is that I have almost finished the charts, but I still have to decide what I am going to create as an edging and then actually knit it. I was going to adapt something from my Heirloom Knitting book (written by Sharon Miller and an absolute must-have for lace knitters) but they are all too fine for this shawl which although a lace pattern is less intricate than most would expect for something under that name. So I think I will be creating some graph paper on the computer tomorrow and trying to design something that will be suitable for myself. It will be a first for me and may actually lead to me designing a complete shawl myself.

I have become a real ER junkie over the last few weeks having started to collect the complete set of DVDs of the 15 seasons of this incredible programme. This afternoon and this evening I have been watching a few episodes as I fought with my knitting. I always seem to want to watch just one more episode, but I forced myself to switch off and I am now thinking of getting myself ready for bed and reading until my eyes get too heavy to stay open any longer. A thunderstorm started about 15 minutes ago and it sounds as though it may be rumbling around for quite a bit longer so I may be reading for quite a while as I am unlikely to fall asleep with the thunder and the pouring rain that I can hear through the open bedroom window.

Reading means a great deal to me and while I often look for new authors to read, I regularly reread books that I love. At the moment I am working my way through all seven of the Harry Potter books and last night started reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This means that I am nearing the end of the series and it will probably be another year before I start to read them again. There is so much to enjoy in these books which although intended for children are so well-written that they are a joy for adults too.

So today has not been perfect, but neither has it been too bad. I suppose that is the best that I can hope for at the moment, and the fact that I can actually sit down and write a post for my blog shows that perhaps I am not doing too badly.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


My mood, while not exactly brilliant, has been reasonably stable over the last few days, but sleep has been something else. I sleep well when I use medication to help, probably too well, but sleep badly when I don't.

I had a very successful day giving a presentation to GPs and Practice Managers for one of our Strategic Health Authorities last Wednesday, and then got roped in to talk to some high ranking people from most of the Strategic Health Authorities in England that evening. It made for a very long day, having left home at about 5.50am and not arriving back home again until 10.20pm, but I think it was worth it because they were all very interested in what I had to say about patients having access to their GP medical records online. I am due to give another presentation in a couple of weeks, this time to my local Primary Care Trust, and in September I will be making a presentation and taking part in a discussion at the Department of Health.

I am always very nervous and anxious for a couple of days before each of these events, but a bit like an old trouper on the stage, once the spotlight is on me I seem to be able to hold my own in front of the audience and I always get super feedback from those who attend the presentations. It seems that hearing things from a patient makes a big difference to their appreciation of the subject. After these events I then suffer a real adrenalin high that lasts for 24-48 hours, almost like a manic period, before crashing back down into depression. Fortunately, the collapse into depression has not been so severe this time, but neither has it been a bed of roses.

My knitting has been causing me some problems over the last week or so. After having had some problems that resulted in me having to unpick a few rows, I managed to get back on track and was progressing well. Then, on Sunday, I discovered an error which required me to have to unpick some rows again. Only one and a half rows this time but it was annoying all the same. I had only six more rows to knit until I got to the end of the main part of the shawl and could start on the edging (the pattern for which I still have to create). I decided to take a break from the knitting yesterday, but started work on the unpicking today, corrected the mistake and then was progressing well until I found that I had one stitch too many in a particular part of the pattern which was obvious and would require me to start unpicking again. This time it needs about five rows to be unpicked so this is going to be a long job.

Hence the frustration. It seems that this shawl is determined to cause me as many problems as it possibly can before I finish it. I'll see how I am feeling tomorrow before deciding to do any work on it. At times I feel like pulling the needle out and unravelling the lot but I know that this is silly and I would regret it the moment that I started doing it.

I may be feeling frustrated by it, even despairing a little, but I am not that desperate yet.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

While I Was Sleeping ...


... this blog's visitor count passed 10,000.

Thank you to everyone who has bothered to look, and a special thank you to all those that visit regularly and those who comment.


You've helped to make this last year bearable.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Paying The Penalty

We are certainly paying the penalty today for the recent hot weather. Here in my part of London it has been raining on and off for most of the day and at the moment it is very dark and not only is the rain teeming down but we have thunder and lightning too. I had to pop out this morning to get some money and a few bits of shopping and while it was dry and the sun was attempting to shine when I left the house, the rain started as I left the last shop and was chucking it down as I walked home. Fortunately I was wearing my waterproof jacket so I didn't get too wet.

However, the benefit of this is that the temperature has come down to a far more acceptable level and it is now possible to sleep at night; well it would be if I could sleep. I'm still having problems sleeping because of the depression but I am doing a little better each night so I am not permanently tired like I have been for the last three weeks or so.

Meanwhile, I have managed to sort out the problems that I was having with my knitting and things are moving along well. I am now on the penultimate chart and this is an easy one in comparison with most of the others. So hopefully progress will continue without too many problems while I am working this chart, but I know that there could be problems when I move to the last one because it is the most complicated of them all. I still have to decide what I am going to do as an edging, but I am feeling more confident about that than I was a week or so ago.

Tomorrow I have to go on a train journey so I hope that the weather improves a little. I certainly don't want it to rain like it has today. I am spending the day with a Strategic Health Authority as part of a team of doctors and patients talking about and giving presentations on patients having access to their medical records. This is something that I seem to be doing fairly regularly now and for the first time I have actually been given a decent amount of time to go through my presentation, so this time I intend to do it with the live system instead of using a PowerPoint presentation. It should be interesting!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Life Is Not A Bowl Of Cherries

That's such a silly expression. I don't even particularly like cherries; unless they are the glace kind, and those I love.

Life at the moment is difficult. I am still having problems coming to terms with the end of therapy, and the acute feeling of abandonment that I am suffering as a result. The heat is making me very tired and with the hot nights I am not sleeping particularly well. My knitting is stationary because I am afraid to do any in case I make another mistake. My self-esteem is low and I am having a crisis of confidence, which is not exactly helpful because I have to give a presentation about patients having access to their medical records to a Strategic Health Authority on Wednesday.

What I really need is something good to happen in my life, but the chances of that are pretty non-existent at the moment, so I will carry on living one day at a time and hope that the depression will lift sometime in the not too distant future.

And when it does, I don't want a bowl of cherries; I want grapes.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Much Cooler

Well, there was no thunderstorm to wake me this morning, but I did wake a couple of times in the night to the sound of rain. The first time it didn't seem to be very heavy nor to last very long. However, the second time there was a definite sound of heavy rain. While I am not sure how long it had been raining before I woke up, I did lie there listening to it for a reasonable amount of time before returning to sleep.

The result of this is that today is much cooler and therefore much more bearable. I had a lie in this morning and actually had to climb under the duvet instead of lying on it because I had started to shiver in the cooler air.

Yes it is lovely to have sunshine, but it is also lovely to have rain occasionally to freshen everything up and make things a lot more comfortable.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Please Let It Cool Down

I don't normally worry too much about the weather. I don't like it if it is too cold, although I have spent time north of the Arctic Circle in winter and I coped well but I did have the right clothes for the conditions. I don't like it if it gets too hot in this country, yet I seem to manage quite well when I am in Corfu in the summer and I have experienced very hot weather in Australia and managed that. But at the moment I would love it to cool down a few degrees and if it could rain I wouldn't complain.

I've just had a look at the local forecast for the next 24 hours and I see that London should be getting a thunderstorm in the morning. So, if the thunder and lightning wake me up I do not intend to feel guilty when I turn over and go back to sleep again. On the other hand, I may just get myself out of bed, put on some old clothes, and go and stand in the garden for the sheer joy of feeling the rain on my skin.

I hope that it is a really big storm, with a fair bit of rain (although hopefully not so much that flooding occurs), because one of the best smells in the world is the air after a period of hot weather that has just been ended by a good downpour of rain.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A Bad Day With The Knitting

It's been another hot day and I am flagging in the heat. They say it's going to be hotter tomorrow and I know that if I am going to venture out it will have to be early in the morning because I am finding it difficult to deal with outside temperatures after about 10.30 in the morning.

The net result of this is that I have been spending a lot of time indoors knitting and watching DVDs. I would love to say that the knitting was going well, but after a period of rapid progress on the shawl that I am knitting things have slowed down dramatically over the last couple of days. I keep making mistakes and not spotting them until I have done several more rows. This means that I have to unpick the knitting stitch by stitch and this is a soul destroying task when you have to do it more than once. I am on my second major unpicking stint at the moment and after working at it for about an hour this afternoon, I put my knitting down and I have not touched it since.

I will probably return to it tomorrow, but I know that I am going to have to take a bit more care when I start the row in which I keep making the errors. This will mean sitting in a silent room, no television, DVD, radio or CD to distract me, and knit each stitch after carefully referencing the chart. I know that I can get it right in the end.

Sometimes I ask myself why I chose to knit such complicated lace patterns, but I suppose that it is because I have always faced up to a challenge and knitting is after all just two types of stitches; it's just what you do with them that makes something fancy rather than plain.

And knitting is one of the life-saving things in my life. I would be totally lost without it.