Hysterectomy: A Small Setback on the Road to Recovery

A lot of what I’m about to say may be a bit TMI so if you don’t fancy it, don’t read on.  I’ve had a rough few days.  On Tuesday evening I had some very painful wind which was different from the post-op wind that I’d been having. The post-op wind had very little odour.  The wind on Tuesday night was more malodorous!  Helios was not impressed but when I told him how much it was hurting, he was sympathetic.

I woke on Wednesday to diarrhoea, then vomiting.  Lucky for me it was more the diarrhoea than the vomiting – twice shouting at the porcelain god was bad enough when I’ve got all these stitches in my belly!  I was hot.  I was cold.  I was hot again.  Helios was worried and we called my nurse before the vomiting started.  My nurse said that if my symptoms worsened then I needed to call a doctor and that’s precisely what Helios did when I started vomiting.  I felt rancid.  I didn’t even have enough energy to crack a joke (which, for me is saying something!) I wanted to go to sleep for about 3 days.  I was worried that I’d done some damage to myself by retching.

When the doctor arrived for the house call she gave me some tablets to place between my lip and my gums – to allow this to dissolve and this did finally help with the nausea.  She also checked my belly and said that I seemed to be healing OK.  She was satisfied that I’d merely picked up a bug and that I ought to be feeling better soon.  I, however, felt I’d taken a step back in healing.  I was still hot and cold and struggled to drink anything.  Helios was scheduled to go to work in the afternoons on Wednesday and Thursday but he stayed home with me instead – he said the office can wait,  I’m more important.  I will digress here for a moment and say that the last husband went back to work after my first operation.  He thought I would be well enough to supervise the builders that were in the house at the time, which I certainly was not well enough to manage at the time!  Needless to say, I am grateful for my life with Helios now!

Speaking of grateful, I also received a couple of “Get well soon” cards and even some flowers from my work on Wednesday.  Needless to say, Helios took them in, gave them some water and took a photo on his phone to show to me.  They’re still lovely but I was in such a state on Wednesday that I could merely glance at the photo on his phone and say “Oh those are nice!  I need some more sleep.”  Helios took care of telephoning his mum (who sent one of the “Get well soon” cards) and forwarded the photo to my line manager at work.  He didn’t give any details of my condition – he said that I could do that when I was feeling better.

Helios also Skyped my mom who was concerned until she heard that he had organised the doctor to make a house call.  Firstly she was delighted that I’d seen a doctor earlier that morning and she was also amazed that doctors in England make house calls.  In the US, she says, if you cannot make it to the hospital under your own steam, you call an ambulance.  Doctors do not come to you!  When Helios relayed the conversation to me he said “England is a civilised country.”  Because I pay for the National Health Service in my taxes, I didn’t have to get out my cheque book to pay the doctor when she arrived.  Of course we paid for my prescription but that is a standard fee that is applicable to every prescription.  I don’t think that £7.50 is an awful lot for something that you need.  £7.50 is slightly more than the cost of a  standard sized fast food meal consisting of sandwich, fries and a soda (which is about £6 per meal at my favourite outlet in Town).

On Wednesday night Helios managed to talk me into eating a little plain boiled rice for tea – I managed about half a bowl full after a whole day of eating nothing but small nibbles of one rye cracker.  I did better drinking water as the day went on so I decided I was confident to take a couple of paracetamol (Tylenol)  before bed.  After spending hours going back and forth being unable to sleep, it was nice to get a good 6 hours in!  I woke at 3am and read.  Poor Helios, in order not to wake me, stayed on the sofa.

Thursday morning I managed a little yoghurt and a banana.  It wasn’t good for me because of my insulin problem but it was nice to have some actual food in me.  I had some more diarrhoea throughout the day but at least the nausea appeared to finally be a thing of the past – as was the fever and chills! However, I still had very little energy.  I got up and watched half of an hour long TV show and then went back to bed.  I just couldn’t stay sitting up for any longer and went to sleep.  Helios stayed with me again all day Thursday to be sure I was OK and wanted for nothing.  Again, he slept on the sofa Thursday night and I was grateful for it – I’m not sleeping whole nights at the moment and thought he’d probably get a better night’s rest without me tossing and turning beside him.

At some point my nurse who is monitoring my recovery called.  She wasn’t as concerned about the diarrhoea as I was: I wasn’t putting any pressure on my stitches by pushing.  Despite the fact that I was uncomfortable, I was also relieved that my wounds are safe.

Friday was finally uneventful.  I had something small for breakfast, chicken and rice for lunch and then Helios brought home some soup for tea.  I was feeling so bright that I insisted he go to work that afternoon (as previously planned) but before he left he changed and boil-washed the sheets and fed me lunch before he left.  As I was feeling better in myself (or should I say I was feeling more like myself), it was nice to have a little time to sit and vegetate on the sofa without a doting husband around.

I Skyped my mom yesterday afternoon because I knew she would worry if I didn’t call and she seemed pleased with my colour.  Of course seeing Mom in person is better but Skype is a wonderful thing to keep in touch!  Not only could she hear that I was sounding OK but that I looked and moved OK and that I was clearly drinking enough water as we were chatting.  Brilliant invention!  And it’s FREE to use if both parties are members!  My favourite price!

Hopefully now I’m well on my way to feeling like a new woman!


National Health Service

Hi Sandy
I wanted to reply to your comment with a comment but I found myself writing an essay.  Please forgive me if the below looks like a rant!

Although I can understand that a lot of Americans think I’m crazy to say that the national health service is a good thing, please see it from my view. Since 2005 I have had five laparoscopic surgeries and a multitude of trips to various doctors for problems relating to my existing conditions and otherwise. I truly believe that, had I remained living in the US I would not have received such good health care treatment because 1) I would be constantly worried about the cost of visiting the doctor and therefore wouldn’t go as often as I ought; 2) I would constantly be worried about the cost of prescriptions and would have to choose which medicines to take – not on a basis of need but on a basis of what I can afford; 3) I believe achieving a diagnosis in the US is a bad thing because it allows insurance companies an excuse to reject health care cover; 4) from speaking with American friends and family, I have to note that the extra stress involved in forcing insurance companies to pay for the procedures that they have already authorized is intolerable and can easily aggravate the health of patients; and 5) I feel it is worth mentioning that I get world-class care from my local hospital.  I am recovering surprisingly quickly after my operation!

Now, I’m not saying that National Health in the UK is perfect: 1) we have to wait our turn for elective procedures (as my hysterectomy was not treatment for a life-threatening condition, it is an elective operation); 2) there are problems with having adequate numbers of nurses and doctors; and 3) there are other bureaucratic problems that have emerged – money that might be better spent doing x and y rather than wasting money on a and b.

As you can see, I obviously feel the pros outweigh the cons.  I sincerely believe that, had I remained living in the US, I wouldn’t have such a successful working life because I would be constantly battling my body and insurance companies.  I would have struggled to hold a job due to my illnesses and pain.  I certainly wouldn’t have been able to afford the five surgeries I needed over the recent years!

I believe that, as a productive member of society, I have an obligation to others and part of that obligation means contributing to the National Health Service.  I think everyone should have the same opportunity for  a healthy life!


US/UK Health Services

I finally heard back from the hospital that they haven’t lost me in the system.  My surgery will take place in March and that I’ll get a letter in the next week with a specific date and details of what to expect.  I will admit to feeling very nervous about the procedure: I’m not going to a private hospital this time where I’ll have my own room and a nice breakfast the next morning.   I always likened the private hospitals to “hotels with drugs” because I was in absolutely no severe pain after surgeries there.

NHS hospitals have a certain reputation here: they’re not very well maintained, not entirely clean and we have to wait and wait for a surgery date only to be told that the date will be postponed by letter.  It’s an irritating process I’ve entered into here and I’m forced to admit that the system isn’t perfect.

It’s made me think…  Am I better off here?

I met an Englishman in the past couple of weeks who said that he really liked his visit to Las Vegas but he thought that he really wouldn’t want to be poor there.  I could only agree.  As someone with chronic illnesses I would have been entirely unable to reach a certain standard of living over there – I’ve needed surgery too often.  Had I remained in the US and got my diagnosis, I wouldn’t be able to get health insurance thanks to “pre-existing” nonsense that health insurance companies give Americans.  I still can’t quite see how any American in my position (and there are quite a few) would be able to get the treatment that they need.  For instance, I wouldn’t be able to pay for my surgeries – who can afford that?   I wouldn’t be able to work without the surgeries curbing my symptoms.  In short, I would have quickly been destitute and in so much pain that I would probably want to kill myself.

England saved my life.   I don’t want to kill myself.  I handle my pain management as best I can and I know that after this surgery (all going well – *touch wood*) I’ll still be able to work and I’ll be able to afford the mortgage.  I am still a valuable member of society.  In fact, all things considered, I’m a high-achiever.

National Health Service

As you know I’ve always been an advocate of the National Health Service.  I think it’s a fair way to allocate funding for illness and a sign of a civilised society.

Let’s talk about funding for a health service for a moment.  I’m originally from the US but now live in the UK.  I currently hold down a decent full-time job.  Last year I had 3 days off work sick.  I am a productive member of society.  Technically speaking I ought to be able to afford any sort of health care payments.  So why do I prefer NHS?

I dislike ambiguity in my life.  For example, Helios and I have a mortgage that we pay every month.  When we took out the loan, I insisted that we have a repayment mortgage at a fixed percentage rate: I wanted to be sure that we know what the outgoings are every month and that the flat would be ours at the end of the term.  A state-funded health care system provides me with the same concrete certainty: I know what I must pay every month and I know that my policy will cover me throughout my life at a rate that I can afford.

I am not at the mercy of an insurance company that can change my status from “healthy” to “unhealthy” on a diagnosis and therefore require me to pay more in premiums than I cannot afford.  Although I am a productive member of society, I have a number of chronic illnesses.  Since 2005 I have had three laparoscopic surgeries and a raft of prescriptions to treat PCOS, Insulin Resistance, Endometriosis, Depression and lichen planus: a stress-related skin condition.  Had I remained in the US, I cannot imagine being able to afford adequate healthcare despite the fact that I am healthy enough to be a productive member of society.

A state-funded health service ensures that everyone has the health care they need in a reasonable timeframe.  People who are less healthy are not penalised for their situation.  Everyone pays what they can reasonably afford.  Everyone is covered no matter what their condition.  It’s concrete coverage.

A state-funded health service ensures that my money isn’t going to greedy corporations.  I compare insurance companies to banks: they’re only out for themselves.  How can anyone afford adequate healthcare when insurance companies are essentially middle-men who get paid to ensure sky-rocketing prices?

In the National Health Service there are no hidden extras: I go to the doctor when I need to, as often as I need to and walk out the door after the appointment.  No need to stop at reception and get out my credit card.  I go to the pharmacy and pay a flat fee for each of my prescriptions.  When I compare this with the US system, many insurance policies require patients to call to authorise appointments and treatment and, to add insult to injury, only cover a percentage of treatment.  To my mind, what is good for insurance companies is bad for patients.

The last time I mentioned the NHS I had a number of volatile comments.  I was surprised at the venom I instigated: as if I didn’t pay for healthcare.  Please remember that I pay for my health care.  I pay my taxes.  My country has cut out the middle-man of the insurance industry and my taxes go directly to the NHS.  I do not begrudge paying taxes when I know that my tax money is funding projects that I am happy to fund: the NHS is at the top of that list.  Thanks to the National Health Service, I am not over-burdened financially and am a successful member of society.

I think the US system is fundamentally flawed.  How would I have coped with all my health problems if I had to pay a bill on top?  It’s an extra stress that those of us with chronic illnesses do not need.  Please remember that I have illnesses.  I didn’t ask for my health problems.  Thanks to my steadfast National Health Service, I will remain a positive member of society for many years to come.


Dream Diary and Further Plans

Last night’s dream: I was in Morocco on a business/wedding trip.  The hotel I was in was lovely and warm but we didn’t go outside. The floors were white marble.  The walls were a terra cotta colour. There were diaphanous fabrics swinging gently in the doorways.  My skin was getting a healthy glow. Everyone was wearing sumptuous colours, small sandals and everything seemed so much brighter than a winter’s day in England !  I don’t think I met the bride but I was given a number of etiquette lessons in a Muslim country.  For example, when I first meet a Muslim man, I need to bow to the floor and only look at his shoes.  I almost got into serious trouble for looking at someone’s bottom when they bent over!  I seemed to be organising a number of details for the wedding but it didn’t seem taxing.

You can imagine that waking up in England was a slight disappointment after that dream!

I went to the dentist first thing this morning.  It was even closer than I thought it was and I drove there in under 3 minutes.  So I arrived and curled up with Harry Potter on my lap to await my appointment.  Although I was meant to see someone else, a very nice Irishman took me through and looked at my teeth.  He said that I was so good at looking after them that he wouldn’t recommend a hygienist.  “If only all my patients were this good at looking after their teeth,” he said in his lovely Irish accent.  Which reminds me, Helios, if you’re reading this, you need to start flossing as often as I do – no excuses!  Luckily my voice held out for almost the duration of the appointment so I didn’t have to start holding up cards that say “I am not antisocial.  I have laryngitis and am trying not to speak.  Thank you for your patience.”  The best part was, because it’s NHS subsidised, my appointment only cost £16.50 including x-rays (as opposed to £65 for a check up with X-rays at my old private practice dentist)!  I have to say the other reason I’m delighted is that he didn’t try to sell me tooth-whitening.  I don’t mind going somewhere and having necessary work done but when your dentist starts going on and on about things I don’t want or need, I get a bit cross.

When I got to work I didn’t have much in my in tray so I bought the Eurostar tickets to go to France for my 40thbirthday.  When you buy in advance you don’t pay an arm and a leg (£119 each isn’t bad!) and you also get your choice of seat on the train.  I’ve put us at a table for both journeys so we can listen to an audio book together or read a paper in comfort.  Now I’m looking at presents for The Boy and Euros for us.  I’ll probably get 2-3 books that are good for a 7-8 year old.  His mum told me that she has a hard time finding things to read in English and I thought he may have the same problem.

The Boy speaks both English and French fluently thanks to his parents – his dad is American and his mum is French.  They both take great pains to speak both languages around The Boy and, when he was young, the difference was “Mummy’s words” and “Daddy’s words” not “French” and “English”.  Years ago, when we first met him, he only spoke in English to me because he heard my American accent but only spoke to Helios in French because he didn’t recognise Helios’s accent and thought “He must be use Mum’s words.”  Bless him.  He was only two so no matter how many times we tried to explain that Helios didn’t use Mummy’s words, it didn’t quite sink in.  Luckily Helios has the patience of a saint when it comes to Little ones.  I think they enjoyed each other’s company despite the lack of actual communication!  The other funny thing that happened once while we were there (I can’t think it was that first visit so it must have been the second time) was The Boy came up and stroked Helios’s beard.  I was a little funny about it saying “That’s attached!  That hair is attached!” but The Boy wasn’t pulling Helios’s hair – he was stroking it.  Helios said that he expected The Boy hadn’t seen a beard in the flesh before and wanted to know what it felt like.

Helios had been listening to (bad) dance music and was Dad Dancing around the flat last night.  He wasn’t impressed when I poked fun at him.  He said “I am a dad!”  It’s at times like that that I wish I’d met him when we were younger.  Being childless myself makes me feel as though I slept a decade and when I awoke, all my friends had kids and I was left saying “What’d I miss?”  Not only am I still in shock with the fact that my friends have kids (Who’s that again?), but I’ve got a strange drowsy feeling when they talk about their kids too.  I understand what they say about how kids can be like this or that but I don’t know what living with it is like.  Having said that, I don’t want the step-kids to think that I don’t adore them because I do cherish them – but there are times when I wish I’d have had kids with Helios.  I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would say that I still have time but I don’t want babies of my own.  I don’t have the patience for raising children now.

You know, I have more on this post but don’t want to publish it.  I may or may not in due course so I’ll sign off for now.

Take care



It never rains…


My downpour started when Helios’s cheek started to swell.  He’s had an abscess that was terribly infected.  He even had time off work – which in my house means he’s seriously/obviously ill because he almost never has time off work!  Poor chap.  He looked a bit like a hamster who’d got a ping-pong ball caught in his cheek!  Luckily the dentist was good.  Helios got antibiotics quickly and had the work done over a couple of weeks.

Now, the finance side of UK Dentistry needs explaining.  Most dentists have a private practice.  Some dentists do NHS work but most don’t.  I have therefore always gone to a private dentist and paid extortionate fees basic work.  When Helios and I got together, he came to my dentist.  He’s now got a significant bill coming from them.

In the meantime, I’ve spoken to W at work and discovered an NHS dentist near home so I registered both Helios and myself today.  I’m still not entirely sure how much payments will cost but I’m hoping it will be significantly less than the place we’re at now!  I’ve got my first appointment at the new place on 7th January so I’ll keep you posted.


Also, my fridge/freezer has been beeping and beeping for almost a year.  When this happened before I just got it fixed and within a couple of months it was beeping again.  Including the call-out charge, it cost about £100 the last time I got it fixed.  Well, I decided that I wouldn’t get it fixed again because I don’t want to throw good money after bad.  I figure I can get a decent new one for between £200 – £300.  Luckily, the fridge  died in a time of year that I can leave cold foods on the porch and the milk in the beer fridge with no fear that my food will spoil.


Once I realised that the fridge/freezer was officially dead I poured the liquid from a stew into the toilet.  Well, of course some of the bits fell in as well but I didn’t think they’d be too big as I flushed the toilet.  Sure enough, there was a blockage but since it occurred at the weekend, and my plumber would have charged extra for coming out at the weekend, I peed in a bucket over that weekend.  It was horrible!  On Monday I called out the plumber who charged £75 + VAT to fix my stupid mistake.  I suppose I should be grateful that it didn’t take long to fix!


A couple of months ago a woman hit my car and left a note on my windscreen.  Since then I’ve got quotes and had some email discussions with her.  Since then, I’ve had the work done and got a copy of the invoice (marked as paid) and forwarded this to her.  I’ve had a promise by email that she’d pay but so far no cheque.  She’s a doctor so I suspect she’s good for it…  Fingers crossed I don’t have to take her to small claims court!


Once again, I am grateful to Helios.  He has a background in, amongst other things, telecoms thanks to his time serving with the RAF.  When our phone and internet went down he did a bit of “faultfinding”, told them where the trouble was and told them to get an engineer out to the exchange.  We’ve gone for a number of days now with no internet access.  Needless to say, being a red-headed Scorpio he’s not taken the waiting very well.  He said to the company yesterday “I’m the one that’s done the faultfinding!  As far as I’m aware, I’ve done more to get this sorted than you.  I did your faultfinding for you.  I’ve told you where to send the engineer.  Have you rung an engineer to sort it out?”  Because he kicked up suck a stink, he’s got a rebate which will, no doubt, get larger and larger the longer we have to wait to be reconnected to the outside world!


Mom, you’ll be disappointed to hear that I’ve got lichen planus again.  I first noticed it under my arms a few months ago and tried some hydrocortisone on it.  Unfortunately it’s only spread in the past few months.  It’s on my back, my legs, my ankles, my arms and it’s beginning to creep around my stomach.  I have always had skin problems.  I think I’m right in remembering that I first got lichen planus when I was a young teenager – 13 or 14.  I didn’t have it for a number of years but it appears now to be back with a vengeance.  So, I went to the GP again for it on 29th November and (luckily) didn’t have to demand to see a dermatologist.  As I’ve opted to go private, I will still have to pay the first £100 for treatment.  I think it’s worth having the option to go for private treatment (i.e. outside the NHS) so I don’t have to wait for several months to see someone.

Fry Pan

Helios was making me an omelette for breakfast the other morning when the fry pan handle broke off.  We just looked at each other and he said “That’s just the way our luck is going at the moment, isn’t it?”  The good news is that I’ve found a good but cheap pan on sale for the princely sum of £6.74.  At least that didn’t cost a fortune to fix!


Last week we got a couple of inches of snow over a couple of days.  Now, if I still lived in the Midwest US, I wouldn’t expect this to slow me down or any schools to close.  However, here it’s an entirely different story.

Firstly, where I come from there are no hills.  If you slide off a road, chances are you won’t total your car because you’ll just slide onto some grass and then back onto the road.  There are a LOT of hills here and all of them have a number of cars at the bottom, all abandoned at crazy angles.

Secondly, where I come from there are more than enough gritters/ploughs and the weather is tackled with military precision.  The roads aren’t always cleared within hours but there is the comforting sight of ploughs and gritters tackling the weather on your behalf.

So the weather tale of last week starts on Tuesday afternoon.  Snow had been forecast for a  number of days and it was finally arriving.  I was panicking a little because I still had the courtesy car from the menders.  Although it was a nice courtesy car, it wasn’t my car and I wasn’t happy about getting stuck with a car that wasn’t mine!  I drove out to the menders to deliver their car, collect mine and pay the invoice.  On the way back to the office the snow was coming down and I seemed to be sliding every which way.  I was decidedly stressed by the time I got back to the office!  The snow kept coming all that afternoon and we were told to go home early that evening.   I walked back to the car and found a huge traffic jam any which way I would want to go to leave town so I left the car and walked to the train station.  The journey home was delightful.  The snow was fresh and powdery.  The walk from the station was peaceful.  I really enjoyed the walk that night.

The next morning, the conditions were treacherous and I took the train the rest of the week!  Unfortunately, the trains weren’t exactly reliable but, lucky for me, my work insisted that we go if we were at all concerned about travelling.  I decided to take advantage of their generosity even if it meant making up the time.  The trains were, for the most part, over an hour late most of the time and, after that first night, walking on the pavements was (and still is) painfully treacherous.  There is still a large amount of compacted ice on most walking surfaces even though the roads are now, for the most part, clear.  It’s more than a little crazy.

Saturday the temperatures weren’t nearly as cold and Helios and I travelled into town to rescue my newly mended car.  While I know I grew up in the Midwest , I’m really not accustomed to driving on frozen and compacted snow anymore so I was a little nervous about getting home again.  Luckily the procedure proceeded with no unforeseen problems and my little car is at home now safe and sound.

The winter tale will, no doubt get crazier as the winter progresses but for now, with the majority of the snow melted in this part of the country, it’s a closed chapter.

Stay safe


An eventful weekend

I’m absolutely delighted with the results of the recent vote.  You know the one I mean.  I expect most of the Republicans out there are being harbingers of doom, saying that the whole healthcare system will fall apart, but why should anyone be exempt from healthcare because they have an existing condition?  To my mind, logic dictates that you pay (either by way of taxes or by way of insurance) for health cover and then you get treatment when you need it.  Society must find a way to protect the weak while not overburdening the healthy and capable.  Obviously the current system is not effective.  I know far too many people who suffer chronic illnesses who have to discuss with their doctors which medications they can afford to take.  Can you imagine that?  Knowing there are medications out there but having to choose only a few – you have to choose the symptoms you would most like to treat but still suffer the rest.  I have that problem too but the cause is treatments for the chronic conditions I have tend to adversely affect my other chronic illness, not because I cannot afford treatment.

What happens if you cannot work because of your illness and you cannot afford the medications you require?  How long would it take for me to go bankrupt and lose my house and live in a cardboard box?  Would I be able to impose on family or friends instead of living in a cardboard box?  How will I ever find work if I live in a cardboard box?  Why should I have to pray that I don’t get a long drawn-out illness simply because I don’t want to be a burden on my family?  How can society tolerate such treatment of the weak?  These questions never cross my mind in England.  Oh sure, there are issues with new or experimental and expensive drugs, etc.  however, by and large everyone is covered and I get treatment when I need it without stopping at the receptionist afterwards to pay a bill.

On this side of the Atlantic…

The church yard’s crocuses have given up and are wilting back into the soil, and so it goes.  But, as is the natural progression of things, the daffodils are in bloom.  Funny how I didn’t even notice them last week, but they’re here now and seemed to smile at me as I passed.  Or maybe that’s just my imagination again?

Helios coloured my hair again and I’m really pleased with the results.  Normally he just squirts it on and gives me a little massage but this time I got a brush to help things along and my sides look brilliant.  I love the colour because it’s close to my natural colour – a reddish brown.  I’ve gone with this colour so many times before that no one seems to notice (except for me) when I’ve had it done.  In short, I’ve got a bit more confidence, which was the whole point of the exercise just before I meet Helios’ kids.

I also saw briefly some old friends this weekend.  As well as discussing Ramman’s plans for his house-sale and where he’s moving to, I told them that I have step kids and that I’m finally going down South with the intention of meeting them.  I will see them again over the Easter break and will let them know how I got on.

In the meantime, contact with the kids has dropped off dramatically and I am now starting to wonder if meeting them will go ahead at all.  Normally we hear from Apollo on a Friday or Saturday night but we haven’t heard from him in a little while now so I’m hoping that he’s just focusing on his coursework rather than avoiding us.  We’ve tried to message Maia but she just comes back with “busy with coursework at the moment” and so we’ve been giving her some space too.  I wish we could tell them that we don’t have to meet if it’s going to make their lives awkward.  I would tell them that we can wait for face-to-face contact when they’re happier about the idea.

I can’t help but suspect that their mother may be the cause of this silence, but am not able to ask them if their mother knows that they’ve contacted me and Helios.  If they haven’t told their mother all about us, I’d be in the position of having to tell them that they really ought to tell her.  It’s not right to tell them that it’s OK to lie.  No matter what happens, I can’t say that she’s been a bad parent – they both seem like such good kids.  Therefore, I would have to say that they ought to respect her wishes – at least while they live at home with her.  Perhaps when they get a little older and are still curious then we can get together and (hopefully) they won’t feel guilty about any possible disloyalty to their mother.  That’s the trouble with being a kid in a single-parent home: no matter what is happening around you, you wind up feeling slightly guilty about being disloyal.  I suppose, no matter how you handle any given situation, you’re bound to disappoint one of your parents.  I really don’t want to put that kind of pressure on them.

Of course, it could just be that all the chatting to us has left them a little behind in their coursework and they’re also probably busy planning things for Maia’s birthday (25th March).  Perhaps I’m fretting again over nothing – and I’m sure Helios would agree with me that it wouldn’t be the first time.  (!)

In other news, my washer/dryer has broken down.  The good news is that I have an extended warranty on the appliance so it shouldn’t cost a lot – if anything at all.  The bad news is that I may want to go to the laundrette before the weekend.  Helios has cheekily suggested we bring our washing with us and impose on his mother but I wouldn’t feel right doing that.  I’m sure she would say it’s not a problem but there is something to be said for taking the things to the laundrette and have it all going all at once and then having it all done all at once.  There’s a laundrette down the road from my office so I can bring in a load or two and take it home if I drive to work.  Bearing in mind that my train ticket runs out on Thursday this week, I’ve asked for a parking space on Friday which should, with any luck, mean that I can do a little laundry during the day Friday if necessary.  So even though the situation is covered, I am just a little stressed about it.

Finally, I had another strange dream last night.  I was in the bath as naked as a naked person could be.  As naked as I was, I wasn’t bothered or self-conscious.  I had an audience (at least two people but I don’t know who they were) and I was playing my brown towel like it was a harp and it was making a nice sound like a harp.  Since I always like to try and work out the psychology (if any) behind my dreams, I’ll give this one a go: I’m feeling confident – even with no clothes on.

Stay healthy


National Health Service in the US?

I have a friend in the US that I met through my blog.  Not only does she have Endometriosis but she also has Lupus.  I honestly have no idea how she copes!  Unfortunately, at the moment, I think the answer is that she isn’t coping. 

Her last laparoscopy was 2 1/2 years ago and her Endo is so bad that she’s in pain for two weeks per month.  I asked her when her next surgery is scheduled and she cannot afford it.  She’s blacklisted from health insurance because of her Lupus.  How can anyone be expected to cope if they’re blacklisted from health insurance, they have no access to health care and they can’t hold down a job because of the pain?!?  How, in the most wealthy country on the planet, can you people let this happen?  How can anyone deny appropriate health care to anyone? 

Anyone who knows me will know how Endometriosis can be – such severe and violent pain that it has in the past lead me to 1) giving myself third degree burns and scars on the small of my back in an effort to alleviate the pain; 2) vomit from pain; 3) being unable to walk due to shooting pains from my back down into my legs; 4) missing school, work and generally not being able to have a normal life on a regular basis due to the pain.  I once described Endometriosis pain like this: have you ever had a leg cramp wake you up in the night?  Endometriosis pain is like that but I get it in my lower back mostly and it’s in a place where I just can’t stretch it to alleviate the pain. 

After surgery, I’m a normal woman again.  Sure, I have period pain but I take a couple of paracetamol (that’s acetaminophen to you in the US) and carry on with life.  Surgery is not a cure for Endometriosis but it does allow a sufferer to have a remotely normal life until the build up occurs again.

 On top of this, my friend has Lupus.  While I am not personally familiar with Lupus, I know that it effectively prevents her from receiving health insurance in the US.  So, how on EARTH does anyone get adequate treatment once they have a chronic condition in the US?  How does anyone over there justify the greed of insurance companies and drug manufacturers??  How can you people sleep at night?!?

 It makes me SO ANGRY to think of the thousands of my sisters in chronic suffering are never going to be as fortunate as me.

When I talk to more fortunate Americans (who don’t have chronic conditions) they don’t want more tax; they think that health care shouldn’t be a right; they think that people with chronic conditions are lazy. 

I don’t think that health care is a right.  It’s a service that I pay for in my taxes – just like the fire and police service. 

 Why should you pay insurance premiums for something that won’t cover you as soon as you get something that’s 1) difficult to treat; 2) leaves you with chronic symptoms; 3) has no cure.  Wouldn’t you prefer to pay for a service that 1) treats your illness; 2) gives you a standard fee for prescriptions; 3) treats you with dignity.