I wrote this at the instigation of a friend who has been trying to encourage me to start writing ever since I left work a year ago.
Due to depression and illness I’ve avoided doing this, even though it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time….
MONDAY MORNING (21 AUGUST 2006)
Woke up this morning (thinking of a song here …and you were on my mind…remember that one? 1965 – the We Five) and can’t get this song out of my head (another song “think I’m going out of my head, can’t get you out of my head…). It’s the second time I’ve woken up and it’s 7.15am. First time was 6.10am and no thought was possible; just stupor and immediate relapse into unconsciousness.
By now I’m thinking that I’ve gone mental overnight and my eyes are stuck together; wait, …..now they’re OPEN! Feeling a bit gritty though. Think I’ll wait a while before putting my glaucoma eye drops in (no they PREVENT glaucoma from worsening, they don’t CAUSE it). So instead I try to sit up.
Mistake, serious mistake.
Pain in my arm and shoulder leads to swearing and a generally happy, optimistic start to the day. So, pain over now, I’m sitting up and able to think again, so I think “Time for my insulin injection. Oh, and I’d better test my blood sugar level (BSL) too.
” Two songs still going through my head, vying for prominence and both adding to the mental chaos – it’s going to be one of those days…….
I decide to take control and lurch across (by now sitting up in bed) to open the desk and take out my testing unit and the insulin kit. Open the kit, get the pen out and remove last night’s needle. Put in a new needle and dial up two units and prime the pen. Dial up 6 units and then take a finger and thumb full of skin (quietly admiring the pristine roll of fat which makes this so easy) and stick in the needle, press in the cartridge and whammo, in goes the insulin.
This one doesn’t hurt, nor does it bleed when I take it out. Press a finger on the injection site for six seconds just like a good girl. Bruising avoided, my mind flits to the next thought; testing my BSL. Leaning over again I reach for the testing kit only to find that I already have it on my lap. My mind goes into a little sing-song of routine – open the kit, take out the testing strips, tear one off, tear it open, insert in machine, confirm the lot number, get out the killer pen, prime and point at finger… PAUSE….which poor little finger this time? Left ring finger chosen and quickly stab with pen before I have time to establish a negative thought about the possible pain. Prick finger (f&^%$#k!); this one hurts. At least it’s a good bleeder; put blood on testing strip, wait five seconds thinking ‘will it be high again like it was last night?’. Result – 6.3; excellent after being over 8 for most of yesterday.
Blast! There’s blood on the sheet. …and on my pj’s. Oh well, it’s only blood. “Time to get out of bed” methinks and I heave the paraphernalia aside and jump out of bed…well stagger to be more precise, and limp down the passage to the bathroom thinking all the way “I should have done this first”. Skip the next five minutes (some interesting reading in the Big Issue though) and back to the bedroom my mind moves on to the next task.
Peek into the living room on the way past and yes, Phil is watching golf while eating his brekkie. Snigger and go back into the bedroom thinking ‘Caught ya!’ My thoughts turn to my eyedrops, better do them now. Do that and Phil comes into the bedroom looking vaguely sheepish and says goodbye; he’s off to work. I’m a bit bleary from the eyedrops, but manage to find him and hang on to his sleeve long enough to kiss him goodbye. So, having done the mundane routine thing, my thoughts turn to my activities for the day. This results in a shift of mood; I start to feel depressed. Such a lot to look forward to today – a sink full of dishes, loads and loads of washing, housework (dusting and vacuuming are high on the priority list), clean bathroom, all morning chores. Afternoon will be taken up with optometrist and doctor’s visits for Phil to have his eyes tested and stitches removed. I have to come along to drive.
My thoughts become blacker, I start feeling sorry for myself. Not that I resent taking Phil this afternoon; quite the reverse as it’s an outing of sorts. It’s the ‘in the house’ thing I feel miserable about. I think ‘First, some breakfast.’ That always makes me feel comforted, right? Have a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Try to move my thoughts away from food, so I decide to go and have a shower. Of course the shower isn’t a great place to avoid thinking, what else is there to do? So I force myself to think of a song (God help the neighbours) – and what comes back but ‘I think I’m going out of my head….la la la’. Oh well, I sing this for a while as it seems apt. Shampoo in the mouth brings me back to reality with a yucky tasting shock! ‘Typical’ methinks.
Again deliberately I force myself to think of something else – our COUCHES! This makes me think about you Chrissie (my friend) and it cheers me up. The black dog jumps off my back and leaves the room (at least temporarily). My thoughts return to the couches. Number one couch (chronologically that is, as it was bought first), is a wooden carved and lattice framed Edwardian style couch that has two matching chairs. It’s covered in lovely dark blue velvet upholstery with a squarish repeated green, brown/maroon and light brown pattern (kind of deco). It’s a three-seater and the seat cushions are stuffed with feathers which means they regularly become lop-sided and need to be turned to keep them from getting thin at one end and fat at the other! (This reminds me of a Monty Python skit – about the brontosaurus – Dr Ann something’s theory “the brontosaurus is thin at one end, thick in the middle and thin at the other end. This is my theory, I own it, it is mine..”)
Back to the couch: it’s a very attractive couch, and very comfortable. Phil and I bought this couch and chairs second hand but restored at the Hawthorn Bazaar in Glenferrie Road. This shop has since changed hands and now sells cheap oriental furniture and other junky stuff.
By now I have finished my shower, and dried and dressed myself and suddenly remembered that I need to take my tablets. Take them, swallowing the lot at once; this is so easy nowadays. Strange, I have a period where I don’t remember thinking at all; just seem to have gone into stunned mullet mode). At least I don’t need to worry about taking any more medication until dinner time now. I start making the bed and I force my thoughts back to the couches (this is a great distraction for me – no thinking about aches and pains in shoulders and knees, and diabetes and neuropathy and glaucoma, etc…ooops, I’m getting distracted in the opposite direction here). Our other couch is younger, we bought it new and it matches the other one for colour, almost perfectly. Style wise it’s very different from the other one. Big sofa style with comfy padded arms, back and seats. It folds out into a very uncomfortable bed, but nobody uses it for that much these days except my son’s friends. From time to time after a poker night in our dining room a mate of his will use it, but 21 year old males don’t feel pain and discomfort anyway, as you know. This particular couch has seen a lot of action (no not that sort, I should be so lucky), with many bums having enjoyed its lovely cushions which are forever sliding forward and it’s (almost) ALWAYS ME who has to push them back into place, clean the spills, vacuum the crumbs, remove dirty tissues from it, etc. ..But I still love the couch because it represents family and good times. Christmas morning opening pressies, with everyone home, birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, Easter and hot cross buns. Recuperating after operations, laying on it when feeling unwell. Friends like you.
It’s nearly midday and the phone rings and I realise now that I have moved onto the dishes without any conscious thought about it, because I’ve been thinking about what to say about the couch. This is good. What is not good is that I wonder how I can ever remember all this stuff when I get time to write it all down.
THURSDAY 24 AUGUST
However, it’s all good, I’ve remembered most of it. I also realise that I have cleaned the bathroom basin and toilet without thinking about them either. Monday morning flew by and I didn’t get half of what I wanted done, but I also didn’t just sit at the computer playing games and trying to chase off the black dog. This usually involves eating but it only makes it come back for more, so it doesn’t work. This narrative therapy does though, both thinking about it and typing it. I’ve been here for a couple of hours and haven’t been to the kitchen once!