An ambivalent August.

Here we are, already in September – where did August go?

What was good about August was:

  • We had a chance to travel and visit new places. We visited Husband’s sister and husband in Wales, and had a chance to visit Stonebridge City Farm and Newstead Abbey, two places I have never been before. I think the idea of being a tourist in your own town or local area is underestimated!
  • We were under on the grocery budget again and have done quite well this month. Foodprint, Olio and reductions have all played their part. The garden is also coming along well.
  • As we are out of term now, I have spent a lot of time doing stuff around the house which I normally don’t have time for. I am almost done dusting all the blinds and using the brush behind the radiators in the house. Ebay is also going well as I have set myself the goal of relisting everything that was deleted off the site in spring.
  • I got reblogged, plus a blog nomination from the lovely LittleSeaBear! In the process of doing a fuller post about this as we speak.

Things that could have been improved about August were:

  • The effect of Husband’s medicine change for his epilepsy medicines is still being felt by us both, leaving him feeling very tired and flat all the time. A visit to do a blood test he needed to see how his values were to check if his dose needed adjusting went horribly wrong. This has left him feeling frustrated with himself and me feeling trapped, at times. Caring for someone can be a very lonely place.
  • Not really something that can be improved but all the same: We had a letter to say that Husband’s second round at court for the PIP tribunal hearing will be held in the first week of September.

And somewhere in the middle is that the work has started on renovating our bathroom.

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No way back now!

Suddenly realised yesterday that with paying for the bathroom and paying the credit card bill in full, combined with that new job won’t pay me until the end of October, equals a very tight September and October for us.

In fact, it may well be a Skint September.

One of the things on my summer projects list is to clean and go through the kitchen from top to bottom, sorting our shelves out.

This will give me a good idea of what we’ve got in the house so we spend as little as possible. This might be the time to whip out the gift vouchers I have been saving from my surveying as well. I will also endeavour to go to Foodprint once a week to help us out. I went on Saturday and got lots of lovely food for very little money.

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Foodprint coming through for us again. This cost us £3.75.

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Current mood: Feeling trapped.

I’ve got this feeling today of feeling trapped I can’t seem to shake.

Yesterday we went to the hospital as Husband needed to have a series of bloods doing to determine how he is doing with his change of medication for his epilepsy. The consultant is concerned that the dose of Epilim he is on is making his ammonia levels in his blood unacceptably high, so has lowered the dose of Epilim he takes. To bridge the gap to avoid a seizure she has started him on a new epilepsy medicine called Levitiracetam.

She did warn us that two of the side effects of this could be low mood and feeling tired, both of which Husband has been experiencing. She also said we would have to go in for bloods to see if his ammonia levels were coming down, and she also wanted to investigate if Husband had an under-active thyroid.

We arrived on time at 3pm and let the receptionist know we were there, and she asked us to take a seat and wait to be called. So we did. Husband was calm enough as he had a game on his phone to distract him.

Husband was getting progressively more agitated (hates injections and needles) so at 3.40pm I went to the desk again to ask if they were aware we were still waiting.

As it turns out, they had not let them know we were there. So they ushered us in and asked us to wait while they got everything together. They seemed surprised we were there and asked us what we had come for (!!!). When we said, they then stated that they had to get a specialist to come take the samples due to the nature of the ammonia levels sample they wanted.

The specialist arrived at 4.20pm. By this point Husband was not communicating or making eye contact as he was too wound up and distressed. They tried four time to take the sample but Husband just couldn’t calm down sufficiently for it to be done.

I could tell that he was becoming too distressed so I proposed to do it another day and rebook the appointment, and so we left at 5pm, not having been able to take the bloods they needed.

Since then Husband’s mood has been very low. He has been beating himself up about it, calling himself a coward and saying I would be better off if he didn’t exist or if we had never met. He slept quite poorly so he is back in bed now resting.

I was hoping to go out with him today, even just for a walk as I think it would help his mood, but I don’t think this will happen now. I have been asking Saturday, Sunday and then suggested today, but don’t think it will happen today either.

Trying my really hardest not to be resentful and upset, but can’t help but feel trapped at the moment as I don’t want to go out leaving Husband here on his own when he is feeling so rubbish. Feeling cooped up. Want to go out even for a walk, but can’t.

I am trying to take my mind off things by doing stuff around the house and being productive. I’ve still got dozens of eBay listings to photograph as we are clearing out some books so might get stuck in with that.

We are also having our bathroom renovated, the gent is coming to do the measurements this week and next week they will make a start.

And we do have a date for the PIP tribunal hearing now.

So have to try to focus on the positives.

…………

A jumbled July.

July has come and gone and we are now in August. How did we do?

Good things about July were:

  • I had a chance to go home and see my family at the beginning of the month, which was lovely. I visited my mother and siblings, and met up with several people from school, and met my best friend twice. Sister and her husband also sent me home with a lot of lovely food which has helped us a lot.
  • Work has finished for the year which has meant Husband and I have been able to spend more time together as I’ve been home more. The weather has been hot and sunny which I love (and Husband hates). We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this month with a takeaway.
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  • We were once again under on our grocery budget, even with a £60 online food shop at the start of the month with Sainsbury’s (so naturally I ordered six bags of cat litter, the less I have to carry home the better!). Foodprint has helped a lot on the budget, and I started using Olio. I also went and foraged near our home and found lots of blackberries.
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    Still got some reduced bargains.
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    Foodprint has really helped us live healthily this month.

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    The bread and pastries came through the Olio app which is an app where people share surplus food for free. If I have time to carry on using it I might do a post about it.

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    Went foraging last week and found these lovely blackberries. There is more left, just needs to ripen first.
  • Another things that went on behind the scenes is that I have got a new job! I will work at the medical library at the local hospital in the week. This replaces the library job I have at the further education college (my weekday job). I predict that the work will be more academic (finding journal articles for consultants etc.) and the likelihood of being called names by our users is significantly reduced. I am waiting for HR to agree to a start date and then I will hand in my notice. Another perk is that this job is within walking distance to the house. This is important.

Things that could have been improved about July were:

  • We went to Husband’s tribunal hearing for PIP after over a year of waiting for it to be resolved. However due to Husband’s distress and the discrepancy between the DWP report about him and what we put on the form, the court decided to adjourn to access Husband’s medical records to get a more complete picture. They have 30 days from the day of the tribunal hearing to do this and then they will call us back in. So we are still waiting.
  • Husband has had to have a change in the dose and kind of epilepsy medicine he takes, as the one he was on made the ammonia levels in his blood unacceptably high. This change has left him feeling very tired and out of sorts, and so he has spent a lot of time resting and going to bed early as feeling tired brings on myoclonic jerks.
  • Having time off has meant eating a lot of good food and not moving around as much as I usually do, so have gained weight. Hopefully this will shift when I start my new job as I can walk to and from work, combined with bringing healthy lunches to work again. At my former job we have a standing desk and I will miss that sorely as, let’s face it, a lot of people, me included, sit far too much during our day.

I wonder what August will bring?

A jovial June.

Gosh where does the time go? We’re already in July!

Good things about June were:

  • The weather has been lovely and sunny – well, that is, for me. Husband doesn’t tolerate the heat well. It does help my mood, I can really tell, when it is bright and sunny outside. We had a lovely morning in Wollaton Park and I got a chance to see NTU’s Brackenhurst Campus. I have done so many loads of washing as I can just peg them out.

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    At least the Cat is enjoying the sunshine.
  • We’ve tidied up the front garden and had bespoke cupboards fitted in the bedroom, lots ot lovely storage for us now!
  • After waiting more than a year, we now have a date for Husband’s PIP tribunal date. It will take place on July 13th. They have asked us to send in anything else we would like to court to consider, so last week I sent in two letters from the hospital, one letter from Husband’s therapist and one from Husband’s employment support worker.
  • We have continued to stay under budget, food-wise. This has been due to Foodprint, buying reduced bargains and saving food from being thrown out. Twice at work this month I have come into the staffroom to find people throwing food away, simply because it was beyond the expiry date – as in they didn’t check to see if the food could still be eaten. They were being dictated to by the date on the pack. I immediately volunteered to take the food home where it was a welcome addition to our meals.
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    Lots of lovely bargains, helping our budget, and more food saved from the bin from Foodprint.

Things that could have improved about June was that Husband’s dose of Epilim was reduced to help some symptoms he was experiencing – this we had agreed to but it was to be done in a way so I could be at home and support him with it.

As it was, it was done suddenly and it meant he had to stay home from work for five days, and I for three, as he felt too unwell to go in and I didn’t want to leave him that way on his own. Husband is better now but I am quite cross that we were put in this situation as I was very worried about him and there wasn’t really anyone who I could ask about if this was normal and could be expected. In addition to this it meant I lost three day’s worth of wages as dependents leave is now unpaid at my weekday job.

My weekday job seems to be imploding now, with more and more people leaving or looking to leave as it’s becoming harder and harder to work there. I am in the same boat now.

July should be very interesting.

The last two weeks in review: A test of patience.

We’ve made some changes to the house the last two weeks, both inside and out. Not without its challenges, as the gent doing the work for us took much longer than he had forecast and so we spent a week on the sofabed downstairs while he did this to our upstairs bedroom:

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Before. Two awkward spaces, one on either side of our bed…
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….aaaand after! Just have to find all our clothes and things again now and put them away.
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Lots of lovely storage.

So pleased with how it has turned out. Just need to find the will to live to apply some varnish to it now.

I have also been doing some stuff around the garden at the back. Husband’s Dad surprised us by coming by one morning and bless him helped us cut the hedge for us. Our next door neighbor has said we are more than welcome to use their hedge trimmer when we need to, so that saves us buying it for the garden.

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Our back yard. I’ve managed to weed it now and clear some of the dead plants. I am so pleased so many of our plants seem to have survived a cold winter.
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Our sage, still being savage. I have cut it back a bit not as its size meant I couldn’t get in through the back gate.
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Aaaah! A wild tiny tomato plant appeared!
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A nasturtium has also sprouted, hope it’ll do as well as the one we planted last year did.
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Our front garden desperately needed a tidy. Before…
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…aaand after! Husband and I weeded and swept it and Husband’s father very kindly cut the hedges for us and helped us pull the last of the chickenwire out. We may get the front garden landscaped next summer.

Half term was very relaxed. The first half of the week was spent just with Husband and I enjoying it. Had dinner with his family and celebrated his birthday by going with him to see the new Solo movie and having breakfast out. I also travelled to London to see my friend and her sisters, and got some badly needed bras as several of mine are just unsightly now.

Last week was very different however, it was unsettling for us both.

Husband has been discussing lowering the dose of Epilim he is on as it is starting to interfere too much (seizure control ok, but impacting him in other ways). It was agreed with the consultant that the dose reduction would be done with his approval and with us discussing it first with the GP.

Naturally we went to get his prescription last Monday to find it had been lowered from 2300mg to 2000mg. Husband and I were both cross at this as it had been done without properly discussing it with us, but Husband was prepared to give it a try.

Husband and I ended up staying home for most of last week as his withdrawal symptoms were quite strong. Husband felt shaky constantly, tired all the time and felt like he couldn’t focus on tasks; he also felt on edge and tingly which he has explained is how you feel before having a seizure.

So he didn’t feel well enough to go to work, and I did not want to leave him on his own, so I stayed at home with him. Saturday one of the neighbours checked up on him while I was at work at my weekend job, and Sunday friends came by so he wasn’t alone for too long.

It’s been a week now and Husband is feeling more himself thank goodness. We just didn’t expect this to just be dropped on our laps.

We have however had a court date for PIP which I am pleased about.

I’m also quite happy with myself for getting some good reduced bargains these past two weeks. Buying yellow sticker items just helps us so much and has saved us so much money, especially this month.

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By going by four shops on my way through town after work on a Sunday night I managed to find us this food. Couldn’t believe the lovely fresh chicken we got for £1.31!
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Lots of lovely food, saved from the bin by Foodprint.
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Really chuffed with these finds, 24p for the punnet of plums! ❤