Snow

Snow is a big deal in the south-west of England, purely because it happens so rarely. I have lived in Exmouth 22 years and have only seen it three times. On those three occasions it was worse than any of the forecasters had predicted. This time there was a red weather warning over Exeter, which Exmouth is very close to (for those of you elsewhere in the UK or overseas). Everyone was pretty blase about the possibility of snow because it is just such a rarity. However I follow a local weather group South West Storm Chasers and I have to say their forecasts are very accurate and when they started saying that “yes Exmouth would get snow” I started to listen.

 

On the Wednesday of last week we had a few very light snow showers, whilst other places in Devon got quite a bit more snow. However on Wednesday night it was clear from all the forecasts it was going to be Thursday that the weather would be at its worst. Hubby was sceptical, but when we woke up to snow on Thursday morning and it didn’t stop snowing, he started to take notice. Hubby was working a middle shift so I managed to convince him to leave the car at home and just walk in. At that point around 9am there wasn’t a lot of snow but within a few hours the situation was completely different.

 

I was sat at my sewing machine in the kitchen with the local BBC radio station on listening to the reports on road closures and school closures. Each hour I was sending hubby photographs of the back garden as it was getting covered in more and more snow.

 

 

 

I was quite happy though as I just sat at my sewing machine and finished off the panels of my first quilt as you go quilt. I have just got to now sash the panels together, which I will do over the next few weeks. I am trying to decide if I will add both my quilt as you go quilt panels together or have them as two separate ones.

 

My second quilt I sewed in one day on the Friday, as once I knew what I was doing I could whizz through it.

When Hubby got home at around 6pm on Thursday evening it was still snowing and when we went to bed at around 8pm it was still going.

Overnight we had freezing rain, which is a very weird one. It falls as normal rain but on contact with any surface it instantly freezes. It leaves the most bizarre patterns on things.

 

 

What it also did was leave a thick crust of ice all over the snow that had fallen the day before. When walking on it, it was so loud like you were walking on gravel. The dogs hated it, Mollie couldn’t get back to the house quickly enough when out for a walk and really missed her daily jaunts to Woodbury Common.

 

During Friday we had more snow, so again I sat in the kitchen at the sewing machine whilst listening to the radio, I couldn’t believe it when I completed the second quilt as you go (qayg) from start to finish in one day. This included cutting 44 , 2 ⅝ inch squares for the six panels. As this quilt was the same as the first one I whizzed through it as I knew exactly what I was doing.

 

The snow was short-lived on Friday night the rain started and that continues all day Saturday. By 2pm all the snow was gone from our garden and traffic was moving again.

 

Saturday I spent making my mums mothers day present. I can publish a photo of it here as I gave it to her Monday as I was down in Plymouth for a hospital appointment. I made this one by watching Debbie Shores YouTube video on Laptop bags. I just made the same bag but down sized it. It took 4 fat quarters to make, I used fabric from some John Lewis fat quarters. I absolutely adore this Moroccan style fabric

 

 

On Sunday afternoon I decided to make my best mate a ipad bag and myself a clutch purse ( same bags just different purposes). With these I made them from fabrics I had bought in the sale at Christmas. However these both had directional patterns on them so I had to solve the issue of having the patterns facing the right way on the back and then on the flap at the front. I solved this by cutting out the back panel, then cutting it in half, turning one pattern completely around so the print faced in the opposite direction and then sewed the two pieces back together again. If I hadn’t done that the zebras and foxes would have been upside down on the flap. I was so proud of myself for working out how to solve this problem.

 

 

Mine is the red with the zebras and my friends is the one with the foxes.

 

Next week I will have lots of exciting news for you nut at the moment I am having to keep an enormous secret. Its killing me keeping it from you all but you will love it when you hear it. And to put you all out of your misery I am NOT pregnant!

2015 was not last year

We are now six months into 2017 but my brain is still failing to catch up after last year. I am still catching myself thinking that 2015 was last year or writing the date as 2016. It’s almost as if 2016 didn’t happen at all and throughout all the years of chronic illness this has never happened to me before.

 

Last year holds very few memories for me, much of it is a vague blur. When you look at what occurred last year it’s hardly a surprise. From the start of the year I started to experience what I believed to be migraines several times a week. Over the course of three months they became daily and at the end of March 2016 I collapsed in the shower due to the pain. It was immediately diagnosed (correctly) by my gp during a home visit to be a low pressure headache caused by a CSF leak. My gp spoke to my PoTs / EDS consultant who advised increasing my salt tablets (salt can increase CSF production). I spent much of April in bed, three weeks after I collapsed I was referred to a neurologist who specialised in CSF Leaks. First hurdle jumped through or so I thought.

 

Despite my referral being marked as urgent, my referral was refused. This is not uncommon these days as many hospitals now employ admin staff (not medically trained staff) to sift through referral requests to see which ones they can deny and which ones they will approve. At the hospital the consultant was based, insider knowledge from an anonymous source informed me 60% of referrals to neurology were being denied for spurious reasons. When I still hadn’t heard anything back from the hospital by mid May (and now in daily agony) my referral was submitted again. By the end of the week I had an appointment for 22nd June, the day before the EU referendum vote hence why I can never forget date, as it was discussed in my appointment. Now cynical me would say what a devious  strategy for hospitals to keep their waiting lists down by refusing to accept 60% of referrals. But with the UK at the polls today for the General Election you’ve probably been all politicked out, I know I won’t be sleeping tonight whilst I wait for the results to come in.

 

A week after my hospital appointment in June I was admitted to hospital for various tests and the hope that I would get an epidural blood patch done. Those of you who regularly follow my blog will know that I didn’t get an EBP done but instead started monthly caffeine infusions and occipital nerve block injections. With the introduction of the infusions and injections things did improve a little but I was still pretty much incapacitated every day to varying degrees.

 

On the worst days I would be in bed for 20-24 hours, unable to lift my head up off the pillow whilst violently throwing up. My bedside bin (lined) became an impromptu sick bucket and I became an expert at throwing up whilst lying on my side. My world really began to shrink, much of the time I couldn’t watch TV or use a computer / phone as the light emitted was too bright even with sunglasses on. I ended up listening to audiobooks or the radio to pass the time. The back of my head and neck were permanently red from lying on hot water bottles. Days, weeks and months merged into one, something I am not surprised about as this is the worst medical condition I have had to deal with.

 

I look back now and I am surprised that I got through this at all. I was lucky as I had the support of my husband, parents and friends. Someone without that support network would have really struggled. When I was able I could also get support from a Facebook group for those who have a CSF Leak, they helped me in so many ways. I now realise that I have probably been leaking on and off since I had a lumbar puncture in 2009. Although it’s not completely gone away, I still have days where by 2-3pm I have a headache start that will only go away if I lie down, I have quality of life back. Lying in a darkened room, completely alone for much of the time is no way to live. I have to be honest I don’t know how I would have coped if the pain hadn’t suddenly dramatically reduced just before Christmas last year. You don’t realise how much you have even when chronically sick before, until it’s gone. It really shocked me how quickly life as I had known it had been taken away.

 

Even though I know 2016 happened and have snapshot memories of things that happened, it does feel like life completely passed me by. It is a really bizarre situation. Obviously it’s quite normal at the start of the year to think the wrong year was last year, for example in January 2017 you were still probably thinking 2015 was last year (or maybe that’s just me?) However it’s June now and I am still struggling to accept that 2016 has been and gone, that 2015 wasn’t last year its two years ago now. It a really hard thing to describe unless you’ve been through a similar situation.

 

I realised just how caught up I was in still thinking that 2015 was last year when I had to correct myself when speaking to my hairdresser this week – again something I rarely had done last year was my hair! I explained that I was caught up in this brain trap due to losing much of last year to being so ill and she totally got it. Some people I have spoken to about it don’t or can’t understand how you can lose a year but realistically it must happen to many people for a variety of reasons. 2017 just seems so alien to me it takes a conscious effort to remind myself it is this year. One mantra I am repeating constantly is 2015 was not last year. I have six months left to recognise this year is 2017, let’s hope it’s sorted by 2018!