Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Sunday, 31 October 2010

What flower are you?

OK, just a bit of fun today. I picked this up from Freebird's blog (she's a snapdragon. Ooo. I was hoping for one of those. I have some still going strong in my garden right now!)

I am a

Saturday, 30 October 2010

MmmMMmmMmmm... chicken pie!

I love chicken pie, but homemade is best.
Haven't found a shop-made one yet that is as good :)
The recipe varies, according to what I have at the time, but here's last night's...

The trick is to roast the chicken first!!!
So I roasted some chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks) in the afternoon whilst doing other stuff, and let it cool for the evening.
Fry some onion, brocolli, red pepper and little potato in olive oil and butter... when the onion and potato are soft, add the chicken in rough shreds of varying size.

Add some stock and leave to simmer till nearly all the liquid is gone..... then pour in CREAM!!!!

Butter the edge of a pie dish. Pop in a blackbird if you have one, this will let out the steam and keep the pastry crisp inside and out....
Ah yes, the pastry.... puff pastry, if possible, made with butter :) and then brush a beaten egg over the top, et voila:
OK it's not perfect but the tastiest ones never are, are they?!
Serve with crisp roast potatoes and French beans.....
Mmmmm.... always goes down well around here!

Friday, 29 October 2010

More on Fluffy

This is Fluffy this morning, curled up asleep on my jumper. I dare you to try to tell which end is which. If you can, you are obviously a seasoned cat-watcher!

Well, Fluffy had a scan yesterday and the result is very cautious optimism- so thank you for all the crossed fingers, purrs and good vibes. In order to have a look inside without knocking her out, they used an ultra-sound scan, and to keep her still they placed warm beanbags across her :)

Basically, when the vet felt the lump on the kidney she thought it felt very bad, but when she saw it on the scan she wasn't so worried. She can't rule out a tumour or cancer, not without a biopsy, and we don't want to do that because of Fluffy's advanced age. 

As to what it is, we aren't sure. She does have reduced kidney function, but is more in the 'cause for concern' category than at danger level. SO she is on pills for this. I guess she should go back on her renal diet food, but it's hard to get her to eat it, even though I've exhausted the various manufacturers of this. Anyway, for now, it's important to just get her eating something

She did have a bad kidney infection in the early summer, and maybe this weird thing on her kidney is part of that. She has been sent home after a B12 injection, a steroid jab and a long-lasting anti-biotic. Last night she slept through till 7.15!!!!!!

I told the vet my concern over her lack of appetite and then, during her day at the vet's, Fluffy made me out a liar by eating loads of tuna :) Today, she hasn't been very enthusiastic about boiled fish, but does like the chicken I've roasted for OUR dinner. Hey ho!!!

my new blog, about caring for mum: Carftering

Thursday, 28 October 2010

New blog address

As mentioned recently, I'm going to try to get this blog back to crafting and drawing. I'll still talk about stuff that affects my bi-polarness, but I want to shift stuff about Mum's illness to somewhere private.

Here is the new blog's address- http://carftering.blogspot.com

I'll eventually change it to invited readers only, but for now it's open to anyone, just while I get it all set up. Have a look, see what you think. I haven't done all the tabs yet; working on it.

Second post, today, follows..... :)

Fluffy's at the v-e-t...

We took Fluffy to the v-e-t this morning, thinking they would just take some blood and give her some thyroid meds to replace the ones she's just come off. But during the examination, the v-e-t felt a strange lumpy mass on one of Fluffy's kidneys :(  she thinks it may be a tumour because it feels spiky, rather than smooth, which might have suggested cysts or infection..... waahhhhh

Fluffy is staying there this afternoon for tests, including a scan to try to determine what the mass is.

Even before the potential grief of losing Fluffy hit me, my first thoughts were, oh no, what do I say to mum? Fluffy is her clear favourite and they go back a long way. She is always talking to her when she she is here in the evening. I shan't be able to give mum any bad news, as her emotions are so near to the surface these days. She watched Bondi Vet the other week and poured her eyes out, even though the cat turned out ok on that. I'll have to keep it from her and hope that Fluffy hangs on ok.

Fluffy's mum died at 12, due to a tumour in her mouth. And her sister, Figs, went at the same age, from a fibrosarcoma. So I guess cancer is in the genes. She an old gal, 17 1/2 years, but it doesn't make it any easier. It just means I've known her longer. There's no such thing as a good innings, as you always want more. I'm dreading the 'oh but she's done well to get to 17' comments from well meaning people! It isn't enough, you see, I want more. I want cats to have human lifespans! She's been with me since my mid twenties. I want her there till old age!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Update on Fluffy

A couple of you asked how Fluffy is getting on, since the cold she had last month. Well, the cold went. She still sneezes now and then but all seems fine on that front......

But the poor thing has had a rough time with her fur.
The vet changed her thyroid medication earlier in the summer, and I believe it was a side effect of this this-
she was pulling her fur out in huge chunks. It wasn't just 'over grooming', which some cats can do if they are stressed, it was really pulling out fur. We were finding piles of it around the house.

Also, she wasn't sleeping through the night, she was calling over and over. And she wouldn't sleep too long in one place.

Well at first I thought it must be flea allergy, so I got her anti-flea drops up to date. But no change. Then I thought of the medication- sure enough, I read the leaflet that came with it, and it said "severe puritus" in up to 10% of cats. This means really bad itching. POOR THING!!!!!

I stopped giving her the drug and she has calmed down gradually over the last few weeks. She is now sleeping through till about 6am- such a relief for all of us! And she is pulling out less fur. She has bald patches and is thin, poor thing- I feel so bad that something I was putting down her has caused this! I didn't know, of course, but I still feel awful about it! Normally I'd read the list of side effects and keep a close eye, but I monitored less closely this time cos of everything else that's been going on.

Oh well. Lesson learnt! -Always read the literature...

Here she is with two of her favourite hobbies- lying by the fire, and being fussed by her granny!

She will still need treatment for her thyroid, but it takes up to 45 days for this drug to leave her system, before she can go on another one.

She is still doing so well for a puss of 17 1/2 years.

I hope I can tempt her to eat more. She is only picking at food at the moment. I may have to boil up some coley.....

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The trick is, to do little things, little and regularly.

-It's true.

My days lately seem full, wall to wall. No time for anything. I am either looking after mum or chasing up people whose job it is to help me look after her (and getting nowhere). But I have been leaving my craft stuff out by my chair and some evenings I manage to do a little. Leaving it to hand helps. I have craft magazines next to the bed, too. I find I can't read my history books any more, and novels are hopeless.

Luvbug has bought me a tiny sewing machine, as I have notions of making wee little fancy notebooks, perhaps as gifts for people. I have yet to make any start, as I can't thread or use the dam' thing!!! But I have bookmarked a video on You Tube that shows how :)

Isn't it dinky? Well, you know that Bob is an 8inch Bear, so judge for yourself!

Another lovely arrival in the post recently was these stamps from the now closed Elzybells. They were a quarter their original price..... oh look, that Bear's got in the photo again, with the other Xmas stamps I've dug out...

I've made a few gift tags. In the hopes that I may be able to buy pressies early this year as in others, I will need these to wrap them up, won't I?

*** *** ***

If you're wondering why I've put a countdown to my birthday at the top of my blog, it's because I've been on a diet for weeks and so I want to know how long I have wait for a bit of cake.

Not much in the way of results so far. I lost 7lb then put 3 back on. D0n't know how, as I have been very strict.

*** *** ***

Most of the time mum is ok till about 1pm, albeit with lots of phone calls to and from me. Then she will be with me till about 9pm, me staying at her place till early evening, then she comes to our place for dinner......

*** *** ***

Jobs around the house are too numerous to even bother putting on a to-do list. I manage to keep on top of the laundry and cook a meal each night but that's about it. Everywhere needs vacuuming and dusting and tidying. Easy to say, oh let it go, but I am worried about it all, as there is no way of knowing when mum will have to move in with us. When will her next attack come? When will she have to move in?

Meanwhile the house is falling apart around my ears, looking more and more like a student squat and adding to my depression. But I just don't have the time or the energy......

This week I have taken more hours out of the time I spend on the home, as I have finally begun driving lessons. I had my first on Monday morning. My second is this Friday. The instructor said I'm doing OK.

*** *** ***

Lately I have been in tears and literally on the floor as I have been so stressed out and tired by the relentless ongoing-ness of this carer role I suddenly have. Typing it here makes me feel stupid. Some people do it all and have kids to take care of, too, so what am I moaning about?

I am thinking about doing an 'invited readers only' blog for the caring part of my life, to keep it a little private, and also to free up this blog for the lighter side of things!!!! You'd be welcome to ask for the way in, just email me. I'll let you know when it's up and running.....

Monday, 11 October 2010

IKEA cats

There's a great new advert on TV for IKEA. Cats wander through the shop, investigating items and rolling on soft furniture, while fluffy kittens jump over beams of pink light. Every time it comes on I pause to watch; it calms me and makes me go warm inside! I'd like an hour long version to play on loop in the background to my day!

If you're a fan too, or if you don't know what I'm talking about(!) here's a link to an IKEA site that's based on the ad: IKEA CATS - you can play a 'match the cat with his favourite piece of furniture' game (and if you match them correctly you win that piece of furniture) or if you press the link at the top, called "Herding Cats", you can see a film about how they made the ad.... they put 100 cats into a real store at midnight, owners all waiting nearby, and then filmed them as they went exploring! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Still here.

I've been avoiding blogging because I've been feeling so low and don't like doing negative posts. Then I thought, hmmm, better say SOMETHING or people might worry I'd fallen off the side of the earth of something. No, still here. Hanging on. Just. But mostly because of a sense that I have to.

After rallying for a while, my mum seems to be slipping a wee bit.

Today we were having cups of tea in a cafe. She saw a man using his mobile phone and she started acting very strangely. When I asked what was wrong, she became very secretive, looking all around, then whispering to me that this man was using his phone. Then she tutted loudly and shook her head. She told me she hoped the police weren't around- that's who she had been looking for- because it isn't allowed. "WHAT isn't allowed? Using his phone?"- I couldn't believe it.
"Well, they say it isn't allowed."
"Who says?"
"They say."
"Um, no, it's OK. It's only not allowed if you're driving."
"Hmm." she wasn't convinced and kept looking at him.
I repeated myself, "It's only illegal if you're driving, mum."
There was no smile, or "Oh! Of Course!", no realisation came, which it usually does, when she gets something wrong. I don't think she was at all convinced. Yet I have a mobile phone, which she rings, and she has one too, although she can't use it any more, she still gets it out sometimes and looks at it, and tells us we'll have to teach her how to use it (which we do, countless times). So why this sudden suspicion of mobile phones?

We dropped her off this evening and she keeps ringing about strange worries. I don't want to tempt fate, but I have a feeling that there might be something big and nasty up ahead.

Still no word on those medications that could help slow things down, and no appointment in sight. I have written to the neurologist myself today, to try to speed things up.


Things are slowly moving towards autumn all around us. The nights are drawing in. My personal worry is simply this; that if I am feeling low and tearful already, how will it be when the days are all dark and cold?

Trying to do things one day at a time here. One day at a time. Not much gets done, though, not when you have to be with someone else most of the day. The house is a wreck, which really doesn't help my head at all, but I just don't have the time and energy to keep on top of it all. I need a helper and despite all the feelers I put out months ago, there just aren't any.