Gratitude List (September 17, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone! I’m struggling with grief a bit today. I thought at first that I wanted to write about it, but I’ve made up my mind. Rather, I want to distract myself and, for this reason, am doing a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for my husband. We’ll celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this weekend and I’m so glad he’s put up with me through all these years.

2. I am grateful to be pain-free right now. I woke up in some pain a few mornings this week, but right now, it’s evening and I’m not in pain.

3. I am grateful I am doing relatively well sticking to a healthier lifestyle. I started two weeks ago and, in my first week, lost 800 grams. I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow morning again.

4. I am grateful for relatively good weather still. It’s still pretty warm, with temps rising to about 20°C each day. We’ve had some rain, but not too bad.

5. I am grateful for quick replies from the developer of Diarium, the app I reviewed on Tuesday. He’ll hopefully be able to figure out why the app isn’t showing up on the App Store for at least some people.

6. I am grateful for Diarium’s built-in “My Day” template. I am also grateful that Diarium is pretty much completely translated into Dutch, including the template, so that I can now easily journal in my native language. That helps me get out of “writing for an audience” mode. I am grateful I am on a four-day streak in Diarium (not that the app keeps track) now.

7. I am grateful for good books to lose myself into.

8. I am grateful for Pringles. My day activities staff, the one who had her 25th anniversary of working for this agency in August, celebrated the occasion officially yesterday. She gave us all chips, in my case Pringles, because I like those the best.

9. I am grateful to have been relatively creative despite feeling a bit meh over the past week.

10. I am grateful to be a child of God. I have been increasingly inspired to not just proclaim Jesus as my savior, but to allow Him to be Lord over my life.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 29, 2021)

Hi everyone, how are you? I’m a bit late joining #WeekendCoffeeShare, as it’s already Sunday. I just had my afternoon coffee and, like I said last week, my Senseo is with my husband now. Now I’m assuming he won’t use it much, as not only is he more of a freshly-brewed coffee person, but he’s trying to cut back on his caffeine intake. That’s his decision though. Let’s have a cup of coffee (or pretend to) and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a good week overall. The weather’s been okay. Not as warm as I’d like it and a little windy for my liking too, but at least it’s been mostly dry.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I decided not to join Steptember, the annual cerebral palsy fundraiser, this year. I participated last year, but the pressure of having to get in 10K steps each day (or as many as I could) and raise money, was a bit too much for me.

If we were having coffee, I’d also moan about my AFO. Yes, it’s been a while, but if you’d thought that no news is good news, you would be wrong. My AFO had been with the orthopedic instrument maker, whom I’ll call AFO guy, for a few weeks, but upon return, we found out that it’s still not working well in combination with my orthopedic shoes. Now AFO guy and shoe guy were both contacted by the physical therapist and it’s up to them to figure out how to solve the issue.

If we were having coffee, I’d also whine a little about my foot pain. The physical therapist hasn’t gotten back to me about that, so I’m not sure what’s causing it. Could be my shoes, since they’re really old (the non-adaptive ones I now wear). Please pray AFO guy and shoe guy will figure out the issue with my adaptive footwear soon.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you to pray for my niece. I didn’t ask my sister permission to share her hip dysplasia diagnosis last time, which I think now is wrong, so I won’t be sharing any more details. However, she is definitely in need of continued prayers.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’ve been really crafty over the past week again. I created some lovely polymer clay ornaments, as well as a hand cream and keychain for one of my fellow clients, who had his birthday on Wednesday. Yesterday, I encountered a lot of frustration with one of my Fimo Professional clays being very crumbly and hard. I eventually managed to restore it to health though.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 2, 2021)

Hi everyone! Can you believe the first half of 2021 is over already? I certainly can’t. Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had my afternoon soft drink. If you want one too, I bet there’s still some left in the fridge. I can also make you a Senseo coffee if you want it. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d talk a little about the weather. It’s okay. Most of the past week, it’s been raining, but I still got time to go outside inbetween rainfalls. It was a bit chilly for summer early in the week. Today and over the weekend, temperatures are supposed to rise to above 20°C.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that most of the pandemic restrictions were lifted last week. They however had only been lifted a few days when news got out about the delta variant of the coronavirus soon becoming dominant. Thankfully, the Netherlands has quite a high vaccination rate, so I have my hopes up we won’t enter a full lockdown come September. After all, my husband and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary on September 19 and we really want to finally be able to do something fun.

If we were having coffee, I would share that this week was a truly mixed bag mental health-wise. I did enjoy some activities, like jewelry-making. Last week was my 35th birthday and I got a bunch of supplies as a present. When being engaged in creative activities, I do genuinely feel some level of contentment, if not happiness.

However, there have also been times when I felt incredibly left out and hopeless. Like I said two weeks ago, the manager indicated that I cannot get more support than I’m getting now. Sometimes, I’m okay with this, but at other times, it really frustrates me.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ll finally start my topiramate this coming Sunday. The longer it takes, the less hopeful I am that it will actually help. We’ll see though.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, on Wednesday, some type of staff support person came to observe and help the staff with some situations with other clients and with me. She offered some ideas for easing transitions for me. When I’m doing okay or sort of okay, they help, but when I’m very distressed, they don’t. I’m still unsure as to how I can ease the many transitions I face during the day.

If we were having coffee, I’d update you all about my situation with the possible UTI I talked about two weeks ago. Well, it isn’t a UTI. What it is, no-one seems to know or care about. I was told to take naproxen and paracetamol and, when this week I reported that they helped some, was just told to continue taking them for another month. A month! I mean, seriously?! I feel quite frustrated about this.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that my sister and her family are visiting me and my husband in Lobith tomorrow. My husband gave me the choice between taking a ParaTransit taxi and him picking me up at 10AM. Since my sister won’t visit till 3PM, I decided to take the taxi. I still have my entire kilometer allowance, since I haven’t felt comfortable yet using the taxi due to COVID-19. My taxi should arrive here in Raalte by 12:30PM. It’s normally a little under a ninety-minute drive to Lobith, but the taxi service might be late and/or combine my ride with someone else’s. However, if I schedule my ride earlier, I won’t be able to have lunch. Fingers crossed the taxi won’t be late.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 20, 2021)

Hi everyone on this sunny and comfortably warm Sunday. I didn’t join in with #WeekendCoffeeShare last week again. In fact, I haven’t been motivated to write much at all over the past week or so. Today though, I’m trying to get out of my rut and join the Coffee Share community again. I just had my afternoon coffee and will probably take a soft drink break midway through this post. If you’d like a drink, feel free to get one and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that the weather over the past week has been beautiful. It was even a little too hot for my liking on Wednesday and Thursday and the nights were uncomfortably sweaty. However, I’m liking this much more than the rain we had over the month of May. We did get some thunderstorms during the night though, which scare me.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I went to the doctor with my lower abdominal pain that I’ve had for about a week now. I wrote about this on Tuesday, but hadn’t been to the doctor at that point. I went on Thursday and, even though the urine sample I’d sent off for checking, didn’t show an obvious UTI, I did get antibiotics just in case while the sample is being further cultured. The doctor explained that it’s unlikely I’ll develop resistant bacteria, as I hardly ever take antibiotics. I am also to take paracetamol for the pain.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve been in a bit of a crisis over the last few days. On Thursday, while I was still in quite a bit pain, my care facility’s manager came by to inform me that I cannot get more support than I get now. I realize it may seem silly to get into a crisis over this, but I’ve been struggling with major anxiety lately and was really hoping that more support could help me.

With respect to the anxiety, my husband tried to be supportive, but I ended up being triggered by some of his words. Like, he said he thinks I might have dependent personality disorder. This was the exact diagnosis I got in the psych hospital in 2016 and which was used as an excuse to kick me out. I don’t want to be kicked out of long-term care. I guess that proves I’m just being dependent though, as like I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t dying living with my husband.

My husband tries to encourage me to do more things independently. While really I would like to be able to, the activities he mentioned (showering, for example) give me a ton of overload even now that my staff help me. Then again, who knows this isn’t just anxiety and dependency either? Apparently I’m not able, in my screwed mind, to make that judgment myself.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m almost certainly going to start taking the topiramate in early July. I started the depo-Provera injectible birth control last Thursday and I will be able to start the topiramate once I’ve been on this one for two weeks. Now I’m only hoping the antibiotic won’t mess things up again.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that today, my one-on-one staff took me to visit her family’s horses. I loved petting the horses. One of them kept reaching for my lower abdomen. The family member whose horses these were, explained that she goes for the person’s body part with the most tension. I guess she’s right.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 24, 2021)

Hi everyone! After writing this afternoon’s quick post, I felt I really wanted to write another post today, so I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare on Saturday. I’m pretty sure I’ll have something else to share with you tomorrow. Either that or I can take the day off blogging for a change. Anyway, I just had my soft drink and chips for this evening, but there is no doubt still some left. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first, as usual, I’d make smalltalk about the weather. It’s mostly been sunny and dry, but windy and quite chilly. How is yours?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve been struggling with foot pain when walking for a while now. I don’t know why, but it seems worse when I wear my AFO (ankle foot orthosis). The physical therapist – not my usual one, since she was off sick – came by yesterday. I can’t remember all that she said, but it came down to my having muscle tension in my feet or something. Massaging my foot before putting on the AFO may work. Other than that, she basically told me that the AFO takes some getting used to. I interpreted this to mean I just need to push through for a bit. That, I think, makes little sense, since I’ve had the AFO for at least a month, probably two, and was fine most of that time.

I was pretty frustrated and depressed when I could barely walk with the AFO on yesterday evening. I immediately catastrophized that I may as well get a wheelchair. Another possibility, and I know my staff don’t buy that one, is that I just need to lose weight. I do, but my staff don’t believe that’s causing my pain. Honestly, neither do I, as I’ve been a lot heavier in the past and then didn’t have issues with pain. My foot also does stand in a weird position when not forced into a 90-degree angle by my AFO. Well, I’m not wearing my AFO for now and we’ll see what will be next.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that on the walk without my AFO this evening, I heard a stork making that clattering sound storks do. We were near the neighborhood supermarket, so at first, my staff didn’t believe me and was convinced it was something else. Then she spotted a stork nest.

Stork

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ve been reading a lot lately. Some of it involves me exploring the enneagram and other personality-related topics. I’ve also been reading a little on attachment styles and trauma. However, I’m also reading for enjoyment. I am currently reading the foster care memoir A Sister’s Shame by Maggie Hartley.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I’ve been writing a lot again. Of course, I’m still blogging everyday, but I’ve also picked up my journaling app, Day One, again, and am aiming to write at least a few sentences each day.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I’m finally able to benefit fully from the YouVersion Bible App and Bible.com. I discovered the note-taking feature yesterday. Today, I finally downloaded the Common English Bible translation. This translation’s publishers require a valid E-mail address and I had initially signed up with my Apple ID and a hidden E-mail address. I thought it should be easy to add my actual E-mail address to the app, but not so. Turned out I also had an account, a different one, with my actual E-mail address. Thankfully, I was able to sort it out. I’m fully enjoying my Bible reading again.

What’s going on in your life?

A Very Intense Tuesday

Wowah, it’s been quite the day! I awoke at 8AM from a nightmare. Thankfully it wasn’t about my current care facility. I got weighed in. Thankfully, despite all the treats the staff who left us left behind, I’d only gained 200 grams.

I then got dressed, got breakfast and then read some. When my day activities staff came, she said the hairdresser was here. Like I said last week, hair salons are allowed to open again, though I overheard a staff say this isn’t until tomorrow. Oh well. I don’t go to the hairdresser each time she visits the care facility, so wasn’t sure I’d go this time, especially at such short notice. I eventually decided to go anyway and she cut about 5cm off my hair.

Then I went for a walk. Once back home, I had to eat, because I’d have to leave for the dentist at noon. I wouldn’t have my appt till 1PM, but it’s about a 45-minute drive to the care agency’s main institution, where the dentist is.

The staff had only told me of my dentist’s appt yesterday, presumably so I wouldn’t worry. I didn’t really, but my anxiety went through the roof once the dentist was doing his job, despite my having taken a PRN Seroquel to calm my nerves. It wasn’t noticeable to the staff, as I practically froze.

I had to have two cavities filled. Both were underneath an existing filling. Despite the topical anesthetic, it did hurt a little. To be honest, one of the teeth still hurts. I also got some protecctive layer over one of my other teeth, which had receding gums and for this reason the root had become exposed. That thankfully didn’t hurt.

Once I was back at the care facility, I tried to rest, but couldn’t. The anesthetic was wearing off and it hurt pretty bad. I decided to do some reading. Then the orthopedic shoemaker visited. He had tried to widen my shoes, so that my AFO (ankle foot orthosis) and arch support both fit into it and I would still be able to get my foot into the shoe. It worked, so now I can start practising walking with my AFO in. In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to practise, as the discomfort is already manageable.

Once the shoemaker was gone, it was time to have dinner. I then had a bit of a meltdown over dessert, or maybe because of the reason it was just a spoiled tantrum. I eventually calmed down though and was able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

I finally gave in and got myself a membership to the International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW). I was a member some years ago, but at the time rarely used the member benefits. Part of the reason is that I didn’t know how to work Zoom and the get-togethers are on there. I still don’t know how to use it, but I think I’ll learn quickly enough.

Now it’s past 8:30PM. I’m not tired yet, but maybe I should have an early night anyway. Tomorrow, my community psychiatric nurse will be here at 11AM. That should go okay. Overall, I’m doing pretty well.

A Productive Wednesday Morning

I got up pretty early this morning at a little past seven o’clock. It wasn’t that I wanted to get up this early, but I just couldn’t go back to sleep. Having gotten up so early did cause me a bit of stress later on, as it’d mean I’d have to wait several hours before day activities started. Thankfully, I made it through.

At ten o’clock, my day activities staff came to my room. I had already had coffee with one of the morning staff, but was happy to have another cup.

Then we went for a walk. My knee still hurt, so I had to walk relatively slowly and got in only seven active heartrate zone minutes. I’m trying not to beat myself up about that.

On the way back to the facility, I asked my staff whether we could call a woman who lives in one of the other homes that afternoon. I used to hang out with this woman a lot when the day center still operated as before COVID. My staff suggested we check whether she was at the day center in her home’s assigned room or outside and she was. I had a socially distanced chat with her and her staff. It was good to see she was doing pretty well.

Then I returned to my home. I told my staff I wasn’t ready for resting yet and wanted to do something. She suggested we do some beading. I made the below keychain.

Purple, heart-shaped keychain

While we were working on the keychain, the physical therapist came by. She said that my knee pain is probably from my not wearing my shoes while indoors. My shoes have arch supports in them, which I do need when walking at all times apparently, not just outdoors. I struggle to wear my shoes when not going outside though, because I cannot tie or untie my laces independently and the shoes don’t feel comfortable when I’m sitting. The physical therapist made some suggestions, but I got majorly overwhelmed. She then went out of my room to discuss her suggestions with just my staff.

Then my staff and I went into the kitchen, where another staff was making hamburgers. I had two buns with a hamburger on them for lunch. I also had some bell pepper, tomatoes and cucumber slices, as well as a kiwifruit. It was delicious!

My lunch of hamburgers

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how I coped this morning. I wasn’t expecting the morning to be this productive when I got up. This afternoon, I plan to relax a bit with my new essential oils in my diffuser. I’m really curious about the cardamom in particular.

Today Is Tuesday, February 23

Today is an okay’ish day. I don’t know what to write about, so I’ll just ramble.

I am struggling majorly with knee pain. I have been struggling with it for a few weeks already, but it wasn’t as noticeable before, as I wasn’t walking anyway due to the weather or mental fatigue. Now the weather is great and I’m definitely motivated to walk, but my knee won’t cooperate. My staff E-mailed the facility’s physical therapist to see if she can have a look later this week. I’m hoping there’s something that can be done about it.

I am also struggling majorly with anxiety. In particular, the fear that I’m deteriorating is on my mind. It isn’t entirely unfounded, as I do experience increasing irritability and sensory overload and decreasing energy. This makes me worry that, in five years or so, I’ll have suffered severe cognitive and physical decline. I know, it makes no sense to contemplate where this will go. All I can do, is do what my body and mind allow me to do each day. And I did go for two walks today, one in the morning and one in the evening.

In the afternoon, I made a massage oil. One of the staff had brought some travel-sized bottles that I could use for the oil. I used one of the 100ml bottles to put sweet almond oil into and then added essential oil. I used:


  • 6 drops clary sage

  • 3 drops lavender

  • 2 drops sweet orange


This makes for a dilution rate of roughly 1% for the total amount of EO. I am, after all, trying to be cautious. I made sure to use essential oils that I know to be relatively skin-safe. I tried the massage oil on my shoulders and neck this evening and it’s great.

I also ordered new essential oils. I had to order lavender EO, as I’d used the last bit of it in my massage oil. I also ordered grapefruit, cardamom and vetiver EOs.

Then I had a look at an online gemstone store. Boy, are crystals and gemstones expensive! I don’t know how I managed to collect so many as a preteen. Unfortunately, part of my collection disappeared in one of my moves. I’d really like to get some new ones sometime soon.

We’re In Pain

So we’ve had a mouth ulcer for some days now and as of today, it really hurts. Our staff called the GP, since we can’t go to the dentist now due to our facility’s COVID-19 restrictions and also since they already knew it was a mouth ulcer. The medical assistant couldn’t decide what to do right away so she talked to the doctor herself. Our staff called back some time later. At first, the doctor said to just take paracetamol, but our staff nagged a bit, so now we’ll get some lidocaine gel. This will probably arrive tomorrow.

We somehow misunderstood the doctor’s telling our staff to just give us paracetamol as her thinking we weren’t in significant pain or that we were overreacting. This caused some of us a lot of upset. Over dinner, we were feeling really overwhelmed by the pain and also other clients’ noise. We somehow couldn’t speak until after we’d had a full-on meltdown. Then we got to express our pain and our staff fetched us some paracetamol. That did help some. We’re still in pain, but it’s manageable.

We generally feel very triggered of late. We’re currently reading a foster care memoir by Maggie Hartley called Who Will Love Me Now?. It’s about Kirsty, a ten-year-old being rejected by her first foster carers after they took her in from a neglectful biological mother as a baby. Understandably, Kirsty feels that no-one loves her now and is acting out a lot to prove this point.

I feel a lot of the more disturbed younger parts can relate to this. Thankfully, our parents never abandoned us, but they did threaten to institutionalize us a lot. Age ten was around the time this started.

I also showed a lot of the behaviors Kirsty shows. I mean, I would also often tell my parents that they didn’t love me. Though I didn’t experience the early abandonment Kirsty did, I do most likely suffer with some attachment issues. I can only speculate as to why this might be.

As we’re now in a place where at least so far the staff are saying we can stay, I notice we act out a bit out of a need to “prove” our point. Which is what, really? That no-one wants us, I guess. I’m not 100% sure how to let go of this feeling.

I did journal a lot in my Day One journals over the past few days. It feels good to let out my thoughts. I’m trying to make this a daily habit and hope my blog won’t suffer because of it.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 19, 2020)

Hi everyone on this sunny Sunday evening. It isn’t hot or too sunny here, but the sun does shine and it’s warm. Around 22 degrees Celsius. I like it. Today, I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. Grab a cup of coffee, tea or your favorite soda. I think the staff also put some water in the fridge to be cool. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I would share that the week started off rather rough. Like I wrote on Monday, I was feeling rather overwhelmed. Thankfully, as the week progressed, my mood and general wellbeing got a little better. I still experience some level of pain on a daily basis. Not 100% sure why, but at least right now it’s manageable.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the physical therapy appt I had on Wednesday. The physical therapist noticed I was pretty tense all over. She might give me some exercises and is going to massage my back next week. She also put tape on the inside of my knee, because I overextend it. I have known I do this for nearly 20 years, but thankfully it didn’t cause significant pain until recently.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about all the beautiful jewelry-making supplies I received in the mail yesterday. I had ordered them from a children’s craft supplies store that I didn’t know before. When the things got shipped and yet I didn’t receive them the next day, I checked and it turned out they had to come from England or something. As such, it surprised me that they did get here on Saturday. The best part is a collection of 90 silver-colored charms. They are truly beautiful.

If we were having coffee, I would share that my husband took me to our home for a night yesterday. We got takeout pizza at my favorite pizza chain. I think my husband entered my E-mail address, because I got a lot of advertising in my inbox today. That’s no problem though.

If we were having coffee, lastly, I would tell you excitedly that I rediscovered at least part of my gemstone collection. I had been wanting to order new gemstones about a week ago and had been thinking or had dreamt that I’d left my collection at the student apartment when I moved out of there in 2010. Turns out my husband has two of the four boxes I had at our home. I guess the other two are either at my parents’ or indeed gone.

I loved telling my husband about all the gemstones in the collection. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures and didn’t take the collection with me to the care facility. I might select some stones to bring here.

How have you been?