Saturday, 27 July 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 30 Dubai to Sydney

I've travelled somewhere new this week. I'm in Australia visiting child 3 Jamie who has lived out there for 2 years. The time difference is only 6 hours ahead of Dubai. It was a 14 hour flight.

It only took a couple of days to settle into local time. It's winter here but very warm here in Sydney, similar to South African winters, so I've packed the right stuff.

I've been travelling around the City and to Jamie's (where we keep the car) on the train, it's very easy and cheap, and we've done a lot of walking, around 15km per day.

202 Sunday off to the dog park in the morning, some washing and ironing and final visit to the dentist for the last and permanent tooth number 3. It's been a long journey, expensive and sometimes quite painful with extractions, stitches and bone grafts. I spent the early evening over the road at the pool.

The cat and dog have sensed I'm going away, they're more clingy than usual.

203 Monday Peter off to Turkey for a week. I dropped the dog at the kennels, Peter at the train station and the cat at the cattery, well I hope it was in that order. Off then to the hairdressers and nail bar, before returning home to finish packing and clean the house.

I had to pop back to the dentist as a tooth felt loose. It's because the implants are solid and have no give in them, whereas there is natural movement in my normal teeth and that's the sensation I can feel.

204 Tuesday I took a taxi to the airport for my flight at 10am. The last time I flew for 14 hours was Dubai to Toronto in 2015. Flight went reasonably well, although I was annoyed that we were put into night time mode at 1pm Dubai time and were made to close the blinds. It was only 7pm Australian time and I think they should have waited till after dinner service.

205 Wednesday Arrived in Sydney at 6am, was met by child 3 and collected car hire, before heading off to his house, then onto my hotel for the next few nights. By 9.30am we were at Sydney Harbour and by the time I returned to my hotel at 2pm, we'd pretty much completed a tour of Sydney. I slept for 2 hours, managed a chat with Peter when he woke up and then walked down to The Rocks for dinner with child 3. I was then in bed by 8pm.

The Opera House seemed smaller than I thought it would be.

206 Thursday I woke at 4am and went back to sleep till 6am. I caught Peter on skype as he'd been out for dinner and back to his hotel at midnight. I caught the train to meet child 3 and we drove to Coogee Beach and walked the coastal path to Bondi Beach.


207 Friday Collected Jamie's friend and we drove out to the Blue Mountains, the scenery was fantastic, we took the cable car and sky train, both incredibly steep and nerve racking. We got back into Sydney at 6pm and everyone went their separate ways.

The park was full of Cockatoo's.

208 Saturday We caught the ferry to Manly, it was a lovely way to see the Bay. We walked along the beach to a cafe for lunch and a beer then climbed over to the rocks on the other side. I spent the afternoon in the hotel and packed ready for our road trip to Melbourne in the morning, before joining Jamie and his friends for dinner in Darling Bay

On the blog this week:

A long weekend in Sydney


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Friday, 26 July 2019

A long weekend in Sydney.

Arrived in Sydney at 6am on Wednesday morning. By 2pm, child 3 had whisked me round the City he's called home for the past 2 years.

79% of the steel used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge was imported from England.


Thursday we walked the Coast from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach.

Surfing on Bondi Beach.





Friday we visited the Blue Mountains.

Yes, this climb was as scary as it looks. If you slipped you could easily hurtle over the edge.








With a 52 degree incline this is the steepest passenger railway in the world. The Scenic Railway. By the time we got a 3rd of the way up we were in the standing position and holding onto the roof bars.


Saturday a boat trip around the bay to Manly and dinner in Darling Harbour.

Sunday we're on our way along the coast towards Melbourne.

Some of these links aren't active yet, I'll let you know when they go live.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

One Daily Positive Week 29

I've had a productive week, lots got done, including items from 'to do' lists from a long time ago that I'd given up on, such as servicing the sewing machine myself with the help of youtube.

I've had a really calm week, not allowing myself to get wound up and by walking away from difficult situations to take stock. I had a couple of close calls with near melt downs, due to other people, but realised this wasn't being done to cause me grief, it's just life and I have to deal with it. I've unfollowed a few people on facebook whose negativity and competitive nature gets me down.

A surprise call from a friend who reads my blog (I didn't know that) to ask how I was as he was concerned with how I was doing after last weeks post.

195 Sunday Plans to rearrange the lounge came to an abrupt halt when I could only get TV and phone or phone and internet. Several attempts were made to contact provider and eventually I tweeted, got a response and they're coming on to sort. I took myself out for a coffee to blog and put everything back and just swept through the house, defrosting a mexican stew and sticking it in the slow cooker for dinner. Popped over the pool late afternoon.
It was a really hazy and windy day.

196 Monday Prepared dinner and made some courgette soup, emptied dishwasher, walked Bob, cleaned the cat litter tray and took myself off to a local small mall for a coffee and to do some blogging. TV engineer arrived at 2pm, connected the TV, phone and wifi in the new location. I was never going to succeed as port no 4 was broken. Lounge and dining room sorted, evening spent in front of the TV.


197 Tuesday Up early, washing and ironing done, garden watered. Off to the dog park for coffee and a natter while the doggies play. Did a spot of gardening in the afternoon and made an attempt to capture a stray cat, the neighbourhood is looking after. Altered the black out curtains and rehung them in the bedroom, found out I could turn the flashing light on the router off in the bedroom at night so now can sleep in complete darkness which is really helping.


198 Wednesday Dentist first thing and 2 of my 3 implants are finished. 3rd implant was too white and didn't quite fit properly so needs to go back to the lab, I still have my temporary tooth so all is good. Took a walk on the beach, nearly died from the heat and the sand burnt my feet, found refuge in a coffee shop for lunch and air con. Started packing for Australia in the afternoon. Off to the pub quiz in the evening and dinner out, may have had too much to drink.

The sea temp was 32c, 

199 Thursday Off to the Doctors, then onto the dental lab for colour matching for my new front dental implant. Had woken with a headache, it turned into a migraine as the day went on.

If anyone can make sense of these lab led results please enlighten me.

200 Friday Still headachy but headed out to Festival City Mall for the morning and managed to walk around Ikea without an argument. I'd been craving a slice of chocolate cake, wish I hadn't, felt sick for the rest of the day. Peter cooked dinner and we binged watched The Good Wife.

Feeling so much more confident now with a full set of teeth for a smile and the ability to chew foods again.

201 Saturday Crossed the boarder into Abu Dhabi to buy alcohol, better choice and prices, stopped for lunch at a local mall in the food court, went swimming and sorted through my craft boxes ready to start some projects next month.

Gin section.

On the blog this week:
Managing chronic pain and flying

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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Dealing with chronic pain and flying

I've had chronic neck pain for 24 years years, since an assault in the workplace.

My chronic pain is constant, it is 24/7. I am aware of the pain every waking minute of my life.

My chronic pain is no worse than anyone else's and probably better than a lot of other peoples.

My chronic pain can't be alleviated with meds or a few stretches.

Some days my chronic pain is just there, other days it's flare up and is worse, these I call 'bad days' restricting my movements and actions. Most days are just NOT bad days.

As a result of chronic pain, I sit, walk and move with purpose. I'm constantly changing position, stretching my neck, slouching my back to take the pressure off my shoulders, I end up with a bad lower back and in turn hip pain. I can exercise, I can take meds for that, I can improve the pain levels. I can make it manageable, but there's not a day when I'm not aware of it.

I get cramps in my wrists and pins and needles in my hands and fingers, making fine motor skills difficult such as writing and taking lids off jars etc. Repetitive strain from ironing, hoovering, sweeping and mopping are getting worse and I often can't pick things up or find myself just dropping items such as tea cups.

I have a 14 hour flight ahead of me next week. I recently took a 7 hour flight in business class, I was able to lie down, not flat, and stretch my legs, but I was still in tears after 5 hours, rather than the usual 2 hours. The only time my pain doesn't flare up is when I'm either walking or lying down flat. Neither of which I can do on a 14 hour flight and I doubt I'd bag an upgrade to 1st class.

The most I can hope for is a row of seats all to myself. It happens fairly often to me. Even 3 seats means I can lie flat on my back, legs bent and can curl up on either side. Plus sleeping does help to pass the time.

I've had numerous surgeries, treatments (physio, acupuncture, chiropractic) and tried various medications, but only ever get short term relief and the more meds I take, the more I need and the side effects of some of them such as Gabapentin have been horrendous.

The 14 hour flight and time difference will wipe we out regardless of the added pain on top, so my plan when I arrive in Australia is to check into the hotel, have a deep hot bath and go to bed. I will merge from my room when I return to normal, of which my normal is chronic pain, just without the tears.



Saturday, 13 July 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 28

I've decided not to mention on Project 365 when I'm feeling ill as it's quite depressing to realise it's 90% of the time, so from now on, when I'm pain free, I'll let you know.

Please also assume that it is bloody hot here and humid, we're on the coast. It is NOT a dry heat. In the UK winters you have a windchill factor, In Dubai it's called humidex and it adds 10-15c to the actual temperature.

Think opening the door to a fan assisted oven, with the heating on full blast, all the clothing on you own and a hairdryer on the back of your neck and you're somewhere near just how hot it is here.

On Tuesday it turned 28c to 53c, it's just not possible to function in that heat dripping with sweat. I'll let you know when temps drop to 'manageable'

188 Sunday Walked Bob before sunrise, the humidity is unbearable now. I did some batch cooking and cleaned the house top to bottom. Joined Peter for a coffee and did some shopping, then spent the evening watching TV.

Can't wait for this station to open and I get get around Dubai by public transport.

189 Monday Dentists for mouldings to have 3 teeth made, which will be inserted into the dental implant posts next week. Drove onto Deira to wander around the markets, home to collect Peter and drop him at the train for his trip to Saudi and called in for a coffee with a friend in the Marina.

190 Tuesday Dog park day, washed Bob and started on sorting out the office. Had a really funny day, nothing happened, but I left the dog park in tears. I've been mulling over the dog incident on Saturday and been having flashbacks to the night my father died 2 years ago on Thursday. I came to terms with his death, it wasn't a shock that he died, just the manner and sitting with him feeling so helpless, just waiting for the inevitable. Spent the afternoon dismantling the old MFI furniture and organising the study.

191 Wednesday I had a Doctors appointment, identifying I needed some help, a lot of questions were asked and answers given. Grief is one thing, but trauma is another and it was strangely comforting for me to be told I'd experienced a traumatic event. Had coffee at the Souk Madinat, then off to collect a prescription, food shop and home to sort out the black out curtains. pub quiz in the evening.

192 Thursday Peter arrived home in the early hours. Had a sweep through of the house and put the rugs back in place, cooked a roast dinner, mainly in the slow cooker. Went for a swim late afternoon.
Peter came home from work with a coffee for me as he knew I wasn't allowed to drive today, until I knew how the meds would affect me.

193 Friday Brunch with friends, it involved dancing on the tables, the morning and evening were written off.

194 Saturday Decided to spend the day walking around Dubai Mall. It's the World's largest mall. All the malls are built/owned/designed by only a few companies, therefore they all look pretty much the same with the same stores, just a different layout. Finally got round to booking car hire and a hotel in Sydney ready for my trip to visit child 3 in 10 days time.

On the blog this week:

How can I manage my stress levels and not take everything to the nth degree?

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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

How can I manage my stress levels.

Before I met my husband I worried about making sure I could pay the mortgage, buy food and clothes for the kids. Holding down several jobs, not worrying about holidays and driving a car that was constantly breaking down. But it was just life, I just got on with it, like all my neighbours, family and friends.

20 years ago life became a little complicated as we started a journey blending two families together, dealing with disability and special needs, ex partners, studying for a degree. Then we upped sticks and moved to South Africa, the kids left home, then we moved to Dubai.

The first 5 years abroad were eventful. They were emotional, time consuming, difficult and isolating. I was depressed, I had to reinvent myself, gain a new identity.

The 2 years ago, I got ill. I still don't know what is wrong with me other than needing regular iron infusions, B12 injections and my chronic neck pain of 24 years flaring up more often. I'm tired, out of breath, suffering with random shooting pains, been under the care of the oncologist, had a bone marrow biopsy and numerous other side effects include a high white blood cell count.

My father died, we moved house, I started dental implant surgery this year.

But I coped with all the above, it was just part of life, I just got on with it all, until recently.

I've already analysed what stresses me out? I've started saying no, removed myself as far as possible from toxic relationships, but it all seems to have turned itself up a notch over the past few weeks.

My biggest problem when faced with an issue is that my brain automatically takes things to the nth degree. On Saturday we took the dog to the vets for his annual injections, he was frightened, he needed muzzling and 4 people to hold him down, he was extremely aggressive, barking, snapping and snarling. I was out of breath, physically shaking and close to tears. I was battered, scratched and bruised and my mind was whirling.
  • What if he bites the vet or me?
  • What happens if this behaviour becomes normal?
  • What happens if I come home one day and he's killed the cat?
  • I'm going to have to have my dog put down.
  • Shall we do it now rather than wait for one of these events to happen?
  • We'll have to have him put down if it gets ill and requires regular vet treatment or he'll bite me and the vet for sure.
Every situation goes like that. It hasn't been helped by seeing an oncologist for 2 years, blood results come back high, my mind races to 'I have cancer, I am going to die' followed by writing a list of all the things I need to do to make sure everyone else's life is made easier should that happen. 

When I'm on my own life is calm, I can do my own thing, take my time, stop what I'm doing if it's complicated and go for a swim or a coffee and when I get tired I can just lie down. 

I told the Doctor this morning I just want to take myself off to a desert island for an unspecified period of time, shut myself off from the outside world and just be alone.

I can't however do that, I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt. So for now I shall carry on talking, writing, asking for timeout, take the days slowly and when a situation arises I feel is going to cause me to think the worst, I'm going to force myself to take a deep breath and think positive thoughts.                                                   

Saturday, 6 July 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 27 Birmingham to Dubai

It's really weird being back in Dubai, it's hot, but not as humid as it can be and I'm just taking things slowly.

It's really strange how easily I adapt between each country. Having spent 3 weeks driving on the left, I just got in the car here and automatically drove on the right, I really don't have to give it a second thought these days, it's just natural to me now.

I actually had an uneventful journey home, no delays, no car hire return hassles and I had 3 seats to myself so was able to stretch out and I slept for 5 hours.

Wow I'm so tired, more blood tests this week and literally falling asleep on my toes when ironing. I just know my iron levels have plummeted again.

Peter was away in Saudi, I'm used to being on my own, but it was strange coming home to an empty house for more than one night.

181 Sunday Flew home after popping in at mums to say goodbye, read my book, slept and enjoyed the food.

182 Monday Woke at 8am feeling shattered, really couldn't get motivated. Collected the cat and dog from boarding at midday and went for a swim late afternoon, unpacked and repacked for my next trip and then fell asleep on the sofa.....grrrrrrrrrr.

183 Tuesday Had 9 hours sleep, woke and set off with Bob to the dog park, getting home at lunch time. Spent the afternoon in bed as my neck was hurting, then had a MD's sugar intake and spent the evening catching up with blog comments, watching TV and bed at 10pm.

184 Wednesday Blood test first thing, then off to the Mall of the Emirates for a coffee, a walk with a friend and a food shop. Peter arrived home late in the evening. My medical aid company wouldn't approve the ferritin tests unless my haemoglobin levels are low, however I've only been anaemic the once and my levels are usually fine, but my iron stores have been low for almost two years, hence why I have iron infusions that medical aid pay, but they won't pay for the tests to check its actually worked.
She just looks at me all day like this, wanting food.

185 Thursday I met a woman at the dog park on Tuesday and we swopped numbers as we live in the same estate so met for coffee in the morning. I picked up some stuff for dinner and did nothing all afternoon until Peter came home.

186 Friday Woke early at 5am and did a spot of gardening and walked Bob. We went out for Breakfast, then onto Dragon Mart, if you get a chance to go you must. You can buy anything and everything there, from a lipstick, through electronics, clothing and furniture to factory equipment. Lazy afternoon and evening.

187 Saturday Bobs annual injections. I am battered, bruised and scratched, my stress levels are though the roof. Off to see Yesterday at the cinema then back to the vets for round 2 (kennel cough) as we've left him there to give him chance to calm down.





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Wednesday, 3 July 2019

A day out with a disabled adult child

We're fortunate as parents that our eldest child, child 1 lives in an excellent home with wonderful staff and management. Yes, we've had some issues along the way especially with me only being seen as her 'step mum' quite often, despite being her 'mum' now for 20 years and most of the time having more contact with her than the rest of the family, including my husband, due to the distance we live from her.

A while ago I found myself unable to take her out on my own, usually because I hire a small car which normally only has 2 doors and she's a bit of an escape artist when it comes to getting out of her seat belt. I'm also getting older and she's getting stronger.

Normally child 2 and 2a come with me when I visit, to open doors, help guide her with steps, carry her changing bag and assist with getting her in and out the car in narrow parking spaces. But 2 and 2a are having a baby later this year and child 1 is what we call 'a bit grabby' she also lashes out, no malicious intentions, but she can pack a punch.

Usually these days I just take her for a walk around her neighbourhood or turn up with cakes and drinks to enjoy with her in her own home. Sometimes it's tricky visiting her with certain members of staff on duty, but it's a lot less painful than taking her out on my own.

This is me and child 1 when we go out. Just like Andy and Lou in Little Britain, I have this image in my mind as I'm explaining what help I need. Click on the link below.

A trip out with child 1. BBC Little Britain with Matt Lucas and David Walliams. But unlike Andy, child 1 doesn't make my life difficult intentionally.




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