Tuesday, 26 July 2011


I've neglected my blog for a wee while. Things at home are not going so well. My great aunt continues to deteriorate and the burden on my mum is huge. She works full time then goes home to be a full time carer and maybe gets a few hours of disturbed sleep per night. I think she's at breaking point and I just don't know what to do to help. I've been trying to speak to social services but there's no quick and easy solution in these cases. I think they have discussed a hospice, but there are no places as yet so for now she will be staying at my mother's house. It's really terrible. I don't really know what to say or do. Just have to keep strong and be there for my mum. I know these dark times will pass, as they always do, I just hope she can keep strong and not fall ill herself.

Otherwise I'm well. I was in London all of last week and did a lot of walking, with no complaints from Mr Right foot which was a lovely surprise. At least the arthritis is taking a back seat these days so that I have the strength to deal with these new challenges life has thrown up.

I'm also moving house this weekend and haven't packed a single thing. I suspect an all-nighter will be happening on Friday.

I'm checking in with all your blogs and sorry if I've not been commenting as much with all the things going on here. Thinking of you all especially those having flares just now and wishing you only good things. Also missing some people's blog updates, Laurie, are you ok?? Take it easy for now folks..

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Looking for inspiration

I've been struggling to think of what to write about lately. I can't think of anything to say about 'me'. Everything is fine, my job is good, my social life is great and my RA is only an annoying buzz in the background. I don't go back to the rheumatologist until December so unless something happens I probably won't be writing about it much. I could write a long whiny post about my slightly swollen thumb tendon which has been annoying me for the past week but I doubt anyone would want to read about that.

So instead, I'm going to write a post about someone who's very dear to me and whose fate lies heavy on my heart at the moment.

My great aunt is 86 years old. She is the oldest living member of my family (which is very very small) and unfortunately she's not long for this world. In the last year her health has deteriorated horribly and she's now in and out of hospital and unable to do much for herself. She's living at my mother's house now who has to take care of her. It kind of breaks my heart. Especially since I know what she used to be like.

She was a very successful architect, and travelled the world. She built schools in North Africa and lived in Paris. She speaks 4 languages, including Arabic learnt from her days in Tunisia and Algeria. She married in the 60s but eventually divorced and had no children. My mum was her 'child', and they were great pals. She took my mum travelling with her in the 70s and 80s. My mum remembers my great aunt at her greatest so it's that much harder for her to see her now. I worry about my mother and the strain this is taking on her but there isn't much I can do apart from listen.

My own memories of my aunt in her younger days are many, but they are a child's memories. Her picking me up from nursery school, looking after me on many sunny afternoons. Going round to her house was always an exciting event as I looked forward to exploring the strange objects she'd brought back from abroad and decorated her house with. She was also one of my favourite playmates, despite her age. We used to build forts out of the sofa cushions in the living room. She satisfied my every childish whim because I was her only 'grandchild', in effect. The past few years her mind had started to go a bit, so she wasn't the aunt of my childhood but she was still a lovely old dear who I could have a nice wee chat with and who told me about her travels and would rejoice in my various achievements at university and beyond. I'll miss her dearly.

I'm trying not to feel too sorry for my great aunt. She's had a brilliant life, seen the world and until this past year or two she's been in great health. It's just really difficult to watch someone deteriorate and know that there's nothing you can do. At least I can take some comfort in the fact that she has her family around her in her final months and that has to mean something.

Old age is no joke. I've known a few people who've died but most have died suddenly. This drawn out long process of 'shutting down' of the body and the mind is horrible to watch. It really breaks my heart. It makes me want to (eventually, when I'm old) die of a heart attack or something, at least then my loved ones won't have to go through this. Maybe I should start eating more fried food.... Just kidding obviously.

It sounds terrible but I dread going to my mum's to visit at the moment. I want to forget this stage once she's gone and just remember the woman she used to be. Is that possible?

Friday, 1 July 2011

Secret illnesses

I was surprised today to find out that a boy in my office has Crohn's disease. He's been off because he's recently started remicade infusions and he's got an infection. It really knocked me sideways how hidden these things can be. He's never off sick really so I wouldn't have ever known only I've been working on a project with his girlfriend and she was really concerned about him this morning and kind of let it slip he was on immunosupressants which spiked my interest. We then got chatting about stuff and it turns out her dad has pretty severe RA as well and retired early because of it. She had no idea I had RA so it was quite weird to discover all these things about each other having worked together for years.

I wonder how many people at my work are affected/know someone who is affected by a 'secret' auto immune disease. Probably more than I thought!