Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pushpa vs the great outdoors

Pushpa (Molly) has just returned from her first venture into the outside. After four weeks she and kiwi have settled into a detente, not exactly friends, but accepting of each other's presence in the house. 

Pushpa has decided that the back of my loom is her spot in the living room as it has many advantages: it's on the opposite side of the room from kiwi's beanbag, is elevated and when the curtains are pulled has a great view out the bay window. I've put the dining room table insert across the warps at the back so that that's is a solid platform for her and no pressure on the warp itself.

She's had her last anti-feline aids shot so now she's allowed outside and has just spent a couple of hours exploring before returning for a late breakfast. Now we just have to get the cat door installed and we're pretty much sorted.

Kiwi also has just finished her course of shots for arthritis and they seem to have been effective.

Monday, November 03, 2014

A new tail

It's been a lovely spring and made that much nicer by a new arrival in the house. For several years now I've been talking about getting a cat, but a bit of an issue how Kiwi would deal with it. My plan was to get a cat at the beginning of a holiday period so that we'd be home to supervise their integration. But the opportunity just never seemed to arrive, until it did.

A bit out of the blue a friend offered us a cat. Molly is a seven year old Bengal, used to living with a dog, but not really getting on with the other cats at home. She's been with us for three weeks now and while she and Kiwi are not exactly matey matey they are getting used to each other's presence.

She's a real character, quite likes water, at least she's very interested in the bath, sinks and dishwasher! She's found a few good hiding spots including our wardrobe, and more recently on the beam side of my loom. I have had to place a board there so she isn't stretching my warps. So long as she doesn't try to get up there while I am weaving that's ok.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dancing in the kitchen

It's been a busy month for us, full of new beginnings for me which is really exciting. 

First off I, fairly successfully I think, taught a two hour class at Collegium introducing people to the process of making medievalish turn shoes. This is going to progress into a series of practical workshops getting people actually making some, probably at the new location for joint Southron Gaard practices on Sundays. I've done this before of course but before I was sick and I know a lot more about actual medieval shoemaking practice now thanks to Al. 

Next I have actually started winding and warping the new loom. It was a bit stumped at first because I had an unknown amount of carpet wool for the warp and the normal method of warping a sectional beam loom is to first wind the warp onto bobbins of X number per section, on this case 16. But I had no way of winding those to a specific measurement and was concerned that I'd end up with not enough. Anyway I've been doing it just by measuring onto the warping mill as normal and warping each section from that and it seems to be going ok.

We applied for and have secured a house sitter who will take care of Kiwi and the horses so that we can go to Fimbulwinter in Dunedin next month which is very exciting. We're taking a couple of days and driving down ourselves which will be just lovely. If all goes well that will make CF a lot easier on Kiwi and us.

I'm on the stewarding team for Canterbury Faire next year, and I've recently had an idea about an event that I'd like to run in early summer or maybe spring but as that's still very much in the works I'll not go into details yet. 

And I've been sorting out my armour to get back into SCA combat. Mostly it's fine but there's a bit of wear and tear, the bluing on the steel needs re doing and some of the leather, straps etc need upgrading. Nick's made me a practice sword and has been coaching me in doing blow drills in the dining rom while he cooks. I am feeling it a little in my wrist and shoulder but that will go away as everything gets stronger. So hopefully by the time we head down to Dunedin I will be able to start training.

Finally, we've had the landscaping guys here the last couple of days levelling the ground outside the bedroom windows for the new garden and lawn which is REALLY exciting as I've been planning that space for years. Now it's all go and soon I'll be buying plants which is amazing.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Well, well, well

So, maybe, you've been wondering what's happened to me. No, probably not. The important thing to report is that I'm well. No more ME/CFS. All gone, done and dusted.

It's been a long haul and while I only had a pretty moderate case it's still been six years plus of pain, confusion, occasional practical paralysis, distress and generally a complete wash out. I feel like I have come out the other end a different person, more aware of my own failings, and strengths I suppose, and I hope more compassionate, aware that what you see ain't necessarily what you get.

I've not written about this before because weirdly within the ME/CFS community writing about getting better, in fact actually getting better, is seen by some as some kind of betrayal. Some people simply deny that it's possible and will claim that anyone who says that they got better never had it to begin with. Even before I found a path to regaining my health I rejected this way of thinking. I find it hard to comprehend how people who do frequently complain about others rejecting their diagnosis as made up can turn around and do the same thing to total strangers whose life they know nothing about apart from one or two things.

Also it's a dead end street - if you define ME/CFS as an illness that no one ever recovers from it becomes self-fulfilling. There have been many illnesses which over history started out as unrecoverable which with improvements in our understanding of our bodies and the development of new treatments have become increasingly successful in treating. Moreover I have met a few people, entirely by chance, that had it and improved to the point where they consider themselves better. Believing that it's unrecoverable from makes it so and doesn't allow for change.

So how do I know that I'm better?

- I lost entire days just staring out the window because I had neither the mental or physical energy to do anything else.
- I was having to walk with a stick more and more often.
- I woke up feeling like I'd only slept a few minutes, even when I'd slept 10 hours or more.
- Driving more than about fifteen minutes drained me, even on a pretty good day, and as a result it was difficult for me to go out without Nick to drive me.
- Every thought took effort, every activity of the day had to be calculated for cost/benefit.

- Driving to work and back 45 minutes each way is effortless.
- I've been jogging with Kiwi (although her foots sore now so we've stopped for a while), have been riding (a little), and am seriously considering resuming SCA fighting.
- I can just go through my day start to finish without having to consider what to use my limited energy on and what to skip.
- I can go out on my own, even in the evenings, and even on a week night, without wondering if I'll be able to get home.
- I have completely weaned myself off the medication I was taking.
- I get a normal night's sleep and only need a normal amount of it.

So that's good enough for me. No, I was never bed bound, so I certainly wasn't as sick as some people are and I'm very grateful and aware of that. From my reading there are many people with ME/CFS who aren't - about 75% - that doesn't mean they are not sick, or that they have something else. It just means that they're not severe cases, lucky them. There's some work starting to be done to try and sort sufferers into sub groups and if that helps with diagnosis and treatment and getting more sick people well again that's a good thing. I hope that it doesn't result in people being allocated to the "too hard basket" OR the "can't be bothered because they're not the most severe cases" basket. Even those who are only somewhat sick deserve to be well again.