Enforced positivity

Hi wonderlanders!

I have decided that I need to shoehorn some positivity into my blog as it has been pretty negative so far this year. Pink and fluffy feelings only from this point forwards in the post (I can’t guarantee it will happen for the rest of the year as that would mean not being a pessimist. I have limited stocks of optimism and an abundance of pessimism, sarcasm and dark humour even at the best of times). Please note, this post is fuelled by Absolut vodka in order to get me to be vaguely positive and hopefully mildly entertaining and humorous, and I absolutely cannot guarantee this post won’t contain sarcasm (I think that may be asking a bit too much from a beverage) So, on with the pink and fluffy! What are some of the positives to come out of this year…

….

….urm…there’s….urm…

…hmmmm

…. (sorry, couldn’t resist. There’s that vague attempt at humour I was talking about earlier!)

As much as lockdown has been difficult for a large number of people (which I can understand), there have been some upsides. Firstly, as much as I have missed going to gigs and events, by not going to such things I have saved quite a bit of money. Due to saving for our wedding and a few other things, this has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. Don’t get me wrong, if my missing of gigs and events was not enforced by a pandemic, I would not have missed them by choice (because I really do miss them and I am having gig withdrawal regularly at the moment), but if I have to miss them, something positive may as well come from it.

Another positive side effect from lockdown is that introverts everywhere are able to exist in their own comfort zone without being either nudged or forcibly dragged out of it, because for once, it is socially acceptable to stay away from people! As much as many people don’t think of me as an introvert (because I often over compensate for my general feeling of social awkwardness by being obnoxiously loud/crude/brash) I actually do consider myself quite introverted. (Yes, underneath that layer of dark humour and crude comedy is in fact someone who is exceptionally awkward and enjoys sitting in corners until they are fostered by an extrovert. Please, for the love of vodka, just talk to me about yourself so I can stop filling the silences with awkward stories about me…)

By not having social engagements to attend (oooh look at me sounding like I have a social life!), it also means I have more time to do other things that I enjoy. My enforced rest for recovery has also contributed to this. I have been more able to spend time playing on my Switch, engaging in many Pokemon-related shenanigans (who doesn’t love giving their Pokemon entertaining nicknames and collecting like 20 Digletts just for funzies? My favourite is named “Diggy Dug”. Why do I need a Dugtrio, can’t I just glue 3 Digletts together?) and completing some of my games! I have had more available craft time (not that I have been as productive with it as I would have liked, but 3 new sets of cyberlox will appear at some point???). I’ve also been able to spend time resting (ok, so that’s been kind of forced) but my body has not really experienced this for any length of time for a number of years (because apparently rushing around and doing too much stuff is just how I seem to live my life?)

Despite some of the times where it has been a struggle to remain on track with my healthy eating due to the mass consumption of medicinal donuts, I have actually come through lockdown slightly lighter than I went in. I continued with virtual Slimming World via Zoom and I think we kept each other slightly sane (ish?) without resorting to utterly destroying every take away in a 5 mile radius or just laying siege to the nearest Krispy Kreme (don’t get me wrong, I was sorely tempted). We are now back to a socially distanced group and it is so great to be seeing everyone in real life again. I feel we are all now exceptionally closer than we were before due to the experience. (aww, bonding!)

Last but by no means least (because I don’t think I can remain this pink and fluffy for much longer and I’m running out of Absolut…) I have been able to spend more time with my partner. Due to him working from home, me having the plague and both of us having no social engagements etc., we have spent considerably more time in each other’s company than we have since our student days (when we basically lived in one room so were pretty much just always around each other). Some people are driving each other up the wall sideways during lockdown for this very reason, but for me (I can’t speak for him, perhaps he is ready to suffocate me with some form of donut), it has been rather nice. (Aren’t I a total romantic? Nope, not really!)

I am sure that my next post will return to my usual self (maybe?), if you enjoyed this type of post, leave me a comment and let me know. Until next time, either find some positivity or stay positive, and most of all, stay wonderful 😉

Rant imminent…

…that is all the warning you will get. Hi wonderlanders! As the title suggests, this will be a rant post. I know some people enjoy my rants, so strap in for a new one! This rant will be known as: The Green Flag rant. On a side-note, this was mainly written weeks ago but time has rather run away from me. I can’t believe it is September in a couple of days!!! Anyway, on with the rant…

For those who are unaware, Green Flag is a UK breakdown roadside assistance company. The idea is that you pay a yearly fee and if your vehicle breaks down, you can phone them and they will come to try to fix your vehicle by the side of the road. If your vehicle can’t be repaired there and then, they recover it to a location of your choosing so you can have it fixed. So why am I telling you this and about to have a rant? Well, I had the misfortune for my car to break down on my way home from my dress fitting recently.

I broke down on a motorway and managed to just about limp my car off the road and into a kind of layby. I went on the Green Flag app to try and report my breakdown and request assistance. This was the first problem I encountered; the app did not recognise my car registration or the policy number that were associated with my account and told me to phone them instead. My phone battery was at 40% at this point as I had been using it as a sat nav to get me to and from my fitting. I tried phoning them and after being told by the recording to use the app (urm….really?), I was informed that the wait time was over 15 minutes and I could either stay on hold or request a call back when it was “my turn”. This was at around 6:45pm. I was expecting the call back to be in maybe 20 minutes or something as if the wait was going to be alot longer than 15 minutes, surely the recording would have said “the wait is currently in excess of 30 minutes” or 40 or 50 minutes. Around 45-60 minutes later I had my call back. Bear in mind, this phone call was to report the fact I had broken down on a busy motorway. I was able to report the breakdown, but because the app is so terrible, the location the app thought I was, was not even close to my actual location. I had to use the “what three words” app to report my location with any form of accuracy so that they may actually be able to find me to recover me.

Once I had reported the break down, I had a text telling me when the recovery driver would arrive. To their credit this was to be in about an hour and the recovery driver arrived before the specified eta. They tested my vehicle in the tiny space we had, and it appeared to work but because the fault was intermittent and I still had a way to go on motorways, they decided it was best to recover me anyway. My car was loaded up and we were on our way, I thought I could relax (even if the recovery driver was a bit liberal with his speed and lane changes on the motorway and terrible music choice. But hey, I was being rescued, beggars can’t be choosers and I wasn’t about to complain). This was around 9pm.

An hour later, we pulled in to a service station, which I thought was just the driver taking a break due to the long drive. He then informed me that it was going to be a relay recovery with another driver taking me the rest of the way. He said he had organised for another driver to pick me up and that I could either wait in the services or in my car, and that I should ring Green Flag for an eta. This was about 10pm, I didn’t know where I was, other than seeing the postcode on the driver’s phone. My car was unloaded and I was left there, alone, in the dark, in an unfamiliar area. My phone battery was getting ever lower as I hadn’t taken a charger, not expecting to be out that long. I also had no form of jacket or hoody and was in a vest because it had been warm in the day time. If I didn’t keep a blanket in my car for emergencies, I don’t know what I would have done, I was so cold. As I was left as far away from the services building as possible and it was dark, I was quite scared to leave my car as I didn’t feel safe. I had texted my family to let them know the situation, so my mum was phoning Green Flag to try and find out an eta for me due to my battery situation. After she was kept on hold for an hour, her call was dropped, so she tried again and finally spoke to someone after about half an hour. She was informed I should not have been left alone and that the driver was supposed to stay until the next one arrived. As bad ass as I can be, its difficult to feel confident in a pair of dolly shoes and a vest in a car park, in the middle of nowhere, late at night when you are shivering fairly consistently.

Ever more concerned about having the ability to contact someone in case of further emergency, I decided to bite the bullet and go in to the building to see if I could buy a power bank. I was also in desperate need of the toilet by this point, having not been able to go since 4pm (and it was now around 11pm). I was able to buy a power bank and a charging cable, and thankfully there was some charge already in there so I was able to give it a bit of a boost. I had contact from my mum who told me that Green Flag were struggling to find another recovery driver and would I be ok with a hotel for the night if they weren’t able to find me a driver. This was all well and good, but how I was supposed to get to a hotel from a motorway without a working car and not really knowing where on earth I was, I am not sure! Eventually, another driver was sourced and I received a text that I’d be picked up at 1am. By this point, I had been at the services so long I would have to pay parking. I asked in the service station about payment and they validated my parking as I’d broken down and were genuinely lovely people.

Finally, the recovery driver arrived, on time. By now, my parents were so concerned for my safety that my Dad drove out to at least sit with me until the recovery driver arrived. We got my car recovered and finally, by the time we had put the car away at the recovery point, it was about 3am. Apparently, their policy as a company is to prioritise lone females who have broken down. If this is how they treat a priority case, how on earth would they treat someone who isn’t?! We put in a complaint to them and eventually I was issued with a £35 good will payment. This was after my dad having a number of E-mails and phone calls with them and them not being able to reassure him, particularly, that this would not happen again. Having read some of the reviews on Trust Pilot, and attempting to add my own (which mysteriously disappeared quickly after it was posted for violating the guidelines, which I checked. It didn’t violate any of the rules.) I noticed that I was most definitely not the first person to have such issues with their service. Their excuses throughout the complaints procedure were to do with being too busy and not being able to source drivers, and I’m fairly certain they reduced their call centre staff, pinning their hopes on the app that didn’t work. I suppose it would be difficult to source a driver when you don’t have your own fleet and are outsourcing all of your rescues. I would say they couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, but I don’t think they’d even be able to find the brewery considering their terrible location settings on the app!

So why am I writing this rant when its not going to change or fix anything? Well, it was extremely upsetting, frustrating and anxiety-inducing and I felt like I needed it out of my system, ranting makes me feel better and people weirdly enjoy my rants. I also thought it would be helpful for others to have some understanding of their service due to the apparent gate-keeping of their reviews. I’m not saying if you should or shouldn’t use their services, but I feel that people should be able to have balanced reviews.

So that is that, rant over! I feel cleansed. I hope you’ve found this an interesting read and I will try to make some of my later posts more positive or at least entertaining! Until then, as best you can, stay healthy and stay wonderful! 😉

 

The saga continues…and concludes?

Hi Wonderlanders,

It has been a while! There’s a few reasons that I haven’t updated for a while, which are mostly related to my health. As my regular readers will know, I have been poorly for some time. I initially had Covid-19 in April, which I never fully recovered from and then I came down with pneumonia as a secondary infection from the initial Covid-19. While I have been ill with pneumonia I haven’t felt much like doing anything. I’ve been generally fatigued, out of breath easily and my chest/side/back have been painful. My ability to concentrate on anything has also been pretty poor, so I haven’t done much of anything more than sitting in the chair and having Netflix on in the background. I also didn’t want to write an update until I had something positive to say as in my previous update that was my hope.

So what has happened since the last update apart from sitting around and doing nothing? Well, the pneumonia decided it was not willing to vacate with just one course of antibiotics. The abridged version of the story, was that it took 4 courses of antibiotics to clear up and my most recent chest x-ray was clear! In that time I also had a blood test which showed I was low in some of my vitamin areas (even though my diet has a pretty good variety and is reasonably high in these vitamins. Perhaps my body is just using more of my supply?) I did also manage to have a viral infection in my throat as it seemed that all of the germs were taking their chances while my immune system went down the drain. After the end of my final course of antibiotics, I finally started to feel a bit more like myself again. I am still fatigued and I do get out of breath when I do things still, but I am no longer in continuous pain. I have started to take short walks to try and build up my body again, and do small jobs pottering around the house (although I do need breaks in between jobs where I sit and do nothing for a while and still relying on the inhaler when I get out of breath). But its an improvement, and its the first improvement I have had in a while! So I’ll class that as a win.

I am hoping that in the next few weeks, I will feel more up to writing again (no promises though!) and will be able to start posting about more interesting things (also no promises that I’ll be interesting!). Until next time, stay safe and healthy, and stay wonderful 😉

Hey Pneumonia, welcome to the party!

Hey wonderlanders, the next post was going to be about something different, but as I was diagnosed with pneumonia, that has kind of won for story time on this occasion, in the ever-developing Covid-19 saga.

As my avid readers will be aware, I was diagnosed with Covid-19 in April after first becoming symptomatic at the start of April. If you are interested in learning more, look back at my previous posts about the delightfully long experience that has been my Covid-19 illness. After being ill for over 2 months and gradually starting to improve in that time, my symptoms became worse again. Over the past few days, my chest pain worsened and spread through my left side and back. I also became more fatigued, experienced pain when breathing and feeling pretty rough in general. I wasn’t going to contact the doctors because I feared a “you’re recovering from Covid, of course you’re going to feel rubbish for a while!”, especially after the response I got in week 3 which was “its just the Covid and you’ll take some weeks to recover. I don’t think its pneumonia”.

After sitting in my chair, working from home for the morning and gradually feeling more like someone was perpetually poking me in the ribs with something sharp, getting breathless from minimal exersion, tight chest and feeling generally rubbish, I thought “fine, maybe I should probably call the doctors”. Spoke to my GP surgery who had the doctor call me back pretty quickly. I must say they have actually been quite nice about all things Covid on the few occasions I have spoken to them. After a short discussion with the GP who confirmed that as I hadn’t had a chest X-ray and my symptoms were worsening, that probably warranted some follow-up, he sent me to A&E. Cue the feelings of “noooo, not A&E!”. I have nothing against A&E but I always feel bad for going there. Even when I am incredibly unwell and should be there, I feel guilty for going.

I attended A&E and after being checked in by reception and issued a mask, I was directed to the isolation waiting area as I had previously tested positive for Covid-19. By this point, I was very breathless, having walked to A&E. The isolation waiting area was just a fenced off part of the main waiting room. I was then called through pretty quickly to the closed off Covid assessment unit by staff in full PPE. In the unit I was directed straight into a side room with a bed to rest on. I had my obs taken and a brief history by the nurse, who also completed an ECG on me shortly after. The doctor came in to see me a little later, took a more detailed history and completed an examination. I also had a chest X-ray taken in my side room, my bloods taken and a repeat Covid-19 swab (partially as I never tested negative). A little later the nurse brought me pain killers and an antibiotic. Due to isolation procedures, you’re not allowed to use a communal toilet, so commodes all the way! The doctor came back to see me along with the nurse. My X-ray showed pneumonia on my left lung, but on the plus, my heart hasn’t been damaged by Covid-19. I have a week of antibiotics and been given strict instructions to rest for at least a week, I’m not even allowed to work from home. Also instructions to give my body plenty of food to fuel it (you don’t need to tell me twice, doc! Did someone say “medicinal doughnuts”?). As I may have Covid-19 still, I was also told to isolate for a week (although the swab has since come back negative. Finally!) I have the instructions and options of seeking further help if needed for my breathing or if I am still unwell at the end of my antibiotics.

All of the staff I dealt with at the hospital were lovely and helpful, which must be difficult to still feel that way when dealing with patients who have quite a capacity to make them ill (one of the nurses had had Covid himself), and seeing people becoming ill and in some cases be quite challenging, with limited capacity to help at times. I am hopefully now on a better road to recovery now the pneumonia is being treated. My daily naps have increased considerably, having spent a fair amount of today asleep, waking up/getting up only to get more food or drink. I am hoping the next time I write anything about my Covid journey, its to say I’m all better. Fingers crossed! I feel fortunate to have not been hospitalised for any of my illness, but it just shows how nasty Covid can be. So if you’re reading this, as much as you’re probably fed up with social distancing, just remember that having Covid will make you considerably more fed up! Stay safe and until next time, stay wonderful 😉

More than just weight loss

Hi Wonderlanders!

I’ve blogged a few times about my weight loss journey from a health perspective and I’ve mentioned here and there about the more visual side of things. I thought that I’d talk a little bit more about the Psychological side of things. Not to the point of talking about the science and theory etc., but more about the lived Psychological effects of this journey. That’s right, we’re delving into the deeper levels here!

As you’ll probably be aware, I’m using the Slimming World plan in order to lose weight. I’m doing pretty well so far, over halfway to my target of losing 4 stone. Occasionally, I

paper sheets fastened by paper clip and asparagus
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

read the Slimming World magazine for new recipe ideas etc. and because some of the features are pretty inspirational. There are success stories in there from people who’ve reached their goals and are obviously pretty chuffed about it, always with before and after pictures. I was having a read the other day and thought to myself about the concept of a “before” picture for myself and had a look for one I could possibly use myself as a comparison and something dawned on me. When I was in my early 20s, I was quite happy to have my photo taken. I had quite a reasonable body back then (although for some reason thought I was fat?) and was quite happy to have my photo taken. But over the years, something changed. I became less ok with having photos and actively avoided cameras or anything that could immortalise my image most of the time, unless I could hide myself among others. Photos of me over more recent years, were either taken at angles by me that didn’t show my body, or involved me hiding my body behind others wherever possible so the most you’d see would be my head. Top and bottom of it, I just didn’t like how I looked in photos. I didn’t like how big I looked and certainly didn’t want lasting evidence of it. So there became less and less photos of me, less and less photos that showed all of me and I’ve actually found it quite difficult to find a recent “before” photo. Sometimes you don’t realise quite the damage that the weight-gain can do to you as a person and how damaging it can be to your self esteem. Once the damage is there, its pretty hard to fix it. I’m not saying all over-weight people should hate themselves, or should feel bad about themselves etc., far from it. This is just my journey, my feelings about myself and the impact I know a lot of other people in my position have felt.

Another thing I have found is that even when slimming you can be very hard on yourself if the numbers of the scales don’t appear to be doing what you want them to. Some weeks, no matter what you do and how hard you work, through circumstances beyond your control, the weight just doesn’t come off. Those weeks are some of the hardest and

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most crushing. You can start to doubt yourself and wonder “what did I do wrong?” “Is this it? Is this as much as I’m capable of losing?” “What if the rest of the weight doesn’t come off and I’m stuck this way?”. Being kind to yourself at those times is really difficult, but there can be a number of other factors at play. Stress can play a major part in making it harder to lose weight. At the moment, everyone is under increased stress because of the virus situation, we are all experiencing a worldwide trauma, the likes of which many of us have never seen in our lifetimes. My body is also experiencing the delight of going through recovery from the virus so my body isn’t functioning as it normally would. With all that in mind though, you still can become disheartened and frustrated with yourself when you feel it should be dropping off more.

Then you have those weeks where you’ve maybe fallen slightly off plan, for whatever

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reason. Maybe there have been alot of social events and there’s only so much polite declining of treats you can do. Maybe you have too much else going on and your healthy eating is the last thing on your mind. As a result you can end up feeling guilty because you’ve not been perfect, or even close to it, and you might dread getting on the scales because you feel all the hard work you’ve put in is being undone. But you’re doing the very best you can in difficult circumstances, but that just feels like an excuse to you.

I’ve found that having the group in my life has really helped with these situations. I was worried before I started group that people would not be genuine or supportive, that people would be competitive. I though that it would be a cringey experience where people would judge you if you gained or would make you feel guilty for having a night out or a pizza. I didn’t really know what to expect but it certainly wasn’t the warm and supportive environment that I actually have as a group. I can only speak for the group I attend but everyone supports each other. There’s no shaming towards you if you have a gain or want to have a day that is off-plan. People are genuinely supportive when you’re having a hard week or if you’re disheartened about your result that week. People give each other tips as to what’s available, what tastes really nice as and feels like a cheat meal when it’s not. I must say that the month I had without group was really hard and I was glad when I was able to start attending virtual group.

Something else I found really useful and thought-provoking was when I looked through

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Photo by Nadine Wuchenauer on Pexels.com

some of the features on the website. Alot of the thoughts and feelings I have or have had, others have experienced too. There’s exercises about being kind to yourself and seeing the good in yourself, which is something I often find virtually impossible. For example, I’ve started one activity that involves writing 50 good things about yourself. 50?!?! I have struggled to write 10. But I’ve managed to at least write a few down and it made me think deeply that there are some positives, even if I can’t find 50. Some of them I found a struggle because I was casting doubt over if they were actually true. So I’d think about them and think “yes, but does that really describe you or do you just wish it did?” or I’d doubt my own motives, like “you’re helpful. But are you really that helpful? Do you just want people to think you are?” etc. Breaking though all that was pretty difficult, but I am trying.

I guess the point of this post is to think about the less health-related and superficial elements behind slimming. There’s so much more to it than that, and its something that is often not considered I think. So I thought it was worth a bit of air time. The key message is essentially that yes you’re in a situation where you’re trying to make a change, that situation is very hard and you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself if things aren’t going quite according to plan. There are ways to rebuild self-esteem if that’s something that has been damaged, although it will take time and effort. Often we are our own biggest critic and we really need to give ourselves a break! So, as I always say, stay wonderful 😉

 

Clever Update Title?

Hi Wonderlanders,

It has indeed been a while since I last spoke to you all and that was to tell you the delightful news of my Coronavirus diagnosis. I thought it was probably about time for an update as I appeared to disappear off into obscurity, so you know what has been happening behind the scenes, with my recovery and how I’ve spent my spare time during the lockdown of the UK.

I believe that when I last updated, it was after about 2 weeks of having Corona and having just tested positive. So since then, I remained poorly for some time. What they don’t seem to be so great at telling you in the media is that even if you are not hospitalised, symptoms and recovery can still last considerably longer than 2 weeks. Towards the end of my 3rd week of being symptomatic, my breathing had become alot worse. I was becoming breathless just sitting still or having a conversation, my chest was incredibly painful and felt like someone was consistently sitting on it. It felt like someone was taking hold of my lungs and squeezing them. Walking short distances (from one part of my house to another) resulted in not being able to breathe normally for about 20-30 minutes. I decided it was probably about time to seek some medical advice, so after taking advice I contacted my GP. I was expecting the GP surgery to be really short with me and quite rude/rushed (as they usually are), but they were actually quite compassionate. My GP gave me a phone consultation and wanted to check to make sure I was receiving enough oxygen due to my laboured breathing, so I attended for an appointment which has to be the most bizarre GP appointment I’ve ever experienced. (I know, crazy times at the moment). My appointment took place in the car park with me sitting in my car and conversing with 2 doctors through my open window. They checked my o2 levels on rest and after exercise (walking 20 feet), and also my temperature. Following this and some discussion, I returned home for them to phone me later. They reassured me that I didn’t need to be admitted for oxygen but that I could contact them again if I continued struggling with my breathing and was concerned. They explained that the pain, breathlessness and fatigue could last for some time and some people’s core symptoms were lasting 3-4 weeks. This was reassuring but also a bit of a downer “another week of this and then more weeks of recovery afterwards?! For something we’re being told only requires 2 weeks for the symptoms to go away?”. I rested for the remains of the day and took a nap as the journey to the GP surgery wore me out. And later that day was when my cough developed. My cough become regular and productive and lasted for most of the evening, but the next day was gone? It was very strange, but along with the cough disappearing as quickly as it appeared, the chest pain also significantly decreased.

In the weeks that have followed the chest pain has been there mostly on exertion. When I say exertion, I mean after I’ve had a short walk or tried to lift something or bent down. Just walking short distances initially resulted in needing to take a nap and being exhausted for days afterwards. Over the weeks, I’ve managed to gradually build up the amount I’m able to do, but I am by no means recovered. The most I’m able to do, exercise-wise, is to walk for a short while. I’m building up the time I am back in work, but I have to space out the days and so far have managed 1-2 days in a week, but then will be aching, exhausted and with chest pain for days afterwards. I know its going to take a long time to fully recover and it is quite frustrating as I’d like to be more active. Its now been 7 weeks since I first became symptomatic, a bit more than the 2 weeks that is being portrayed. It took me a few weeks to be able to get through a day without needing a nap (and even now I do sometimes need a nap when I get home). I also continued to test positive for the virus in week 4, but again there was no guidance provided. The main explanation I’ve seen for this is that sometimes, because you are bringing up dead lung tissue, this still contains the virus and that is what is picked up on the swabs and you’re not necessarily contagious. Still very limited guidance though, so in the end I followed the symptoms guidance which was that if you were “symptom free” (i.e no fever and other symptoms improving) for 2 days then you can stop isolating. I still stay away from people, and I’m very conscious of not being in close proximity with others outside my house (I wish other people would do me the same courtesy!)

Apart from resting and sleeping alot, I have been keeping myself busy with other things, mostly things that involve sitting down! I’ve been gaming more and working my way through my reading backlog, I’ve re-discovered my mindfulness colouring books. I’ve also been working on some new sets of cyberlox and actually making the dreads from scratch again rather than buying them in. We’re still planning the wedding (with fingers firmly crossed we’ll still be able to go ahead), so alot of appointments have had to be reshuffled for that. After a brief hiatus for corona, I’m back with the Slimming World plan and attending virtual groups. Having the weekly meet-ups has been really helpful and returns a sense of normality that I’ve missed. There’s still plenty I want to get done while we’re in lockdown. Although it sucks that events have been cancelled, I’ve been looking at the bright side as much as possible. I may write a separate post about positivity etc. at some point, but we’ll see. In the meantime I do have more posts planned and hopefully this time it won’t take me a month to write them! Until the next one, stay safe and stay wonderful 😉

Covid-19 positive….now what?

Good afternoon wonderlanders,

Well, what a crazy time we’re living in. Half the world is in lockdown, people are becoming infected, hospitalised, dying and we’re not allowed to go near each other. Although you’d maybe think “you’re in lockdown, surely you have plenty of time to write”, it is true that UK is in lockdown, however I am what is referred to as a “key worker”. In the UK, those who are required to work because they’re needed to either fight against Covid-19, or are needed to keep the country going (such as healthcare workers, supermarket staff, care workers, prison workers, emergency services, deliver drivers, postal workers etc.) are referred to as key workers and have to continue working. I sometimes have the luxury of working from home at the moment, which most of the country have been encouraged to do, if possible.

I was initially going to write a post a couple of weeks ago about this and explaining why I’m not writing despite the fact it would appear I probably have time. The truth is, the days when I’ve been into work have been quite tiring, but then the days when I’ve worked from home, I haven’t then felt like sitting down to write afterwards. Then two weeks ago, I kind of had a bit of a curveball in the form of contracting Covid-19. So this post has kind of turned into a blog about that experience, even though that wasn’t the original intention when I thought about writing the post! Most of us will know someone who’s been at least suspected of having Covid-19, whether that has been confirmed or not. But as my blog is all about experiences, I thought I’d share mine.

Before I started experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, I had 2-3 weeks where I pretty much constantly had a headache. I thought this was just due to stress and exhaustion due to the current situation and I’m not 100% sure if it was linked to my illness or not. On the Thursday, I started experiencing aches through my back and hips but thought nothing of it, believing I probably just had a touch of sciatica or linked to my IBS as that sometimes gives me back pain, and I was still experiencing the headache. The next day, I was working from home and tried to carry on as usual, despite the headache and generally starting to feel a bit rubbish and tired. By the time the evening rolled around, I was starting to feel feverish. I was shivering but you could pretty much roast a chicken just holding it vaguely near me and I was sweating ridiculous amounts (I know, super attractive!). I was also becoming short of breath easily and according to the government guidance in the UK, this meant 7 days of isolation for me and 14 days for my partner. What followed was a week of feeling the most ill I can ever remember feeling. I couldn’t deal with having the lights on or the curtains open, my head felt like it was going to explode and no amount of pain killers made it feel better, I was continually feverish, I ached, my skin was crawling, I didn’t want to eat, just trying to walk up the stairs to the toilet made me breathless, I was tired but couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t concentrate on anything and I spent several days just sitting in the recliner, staring at the ceiling because I just didn’t know what to do. Eventually the headaches calmed down and I was able to concentrate a little more, the fever became more intermittent so it wasn’t present continually, but was still there. The shortness of breath continued and the tiredness became worse. The second week started with fluctuating fever, but then that started to calm down. The rest of the week I continued to be short of breath with minimal physical exertion and became tired very quickly. I’ve now been symptomatic for about 15 days.

During the second week, the government rules changed and they started to allow non-NHS keyworkers to be tested if they were symptomatic. This was via the “drive-in” test centres and I was offered this opportunity. Just attending the test and returning (which was less than a 45 minute round trip) made me so tired that I had to nap for a few hours when I returned home, and this had required such a small amount of exertion. I was fairly sure that my test would come back negative due to the amount of time that had passed and assumed my current symptoms were more post-viral. So I was quite surprised when the result was texted to me the following day stating that I tested positive. This is where things are quite confusing. All of the guidance online from the NHS said that once you are no-longer feverish (for a period of 2 days) you no-longer need to isolate but this made no reference to if you tested positive for the illness. When you receive your result via text, the only information you are given is that you should inform your employer if you are a key worker and follow the government and NHS guidance. Online, there is no guidance as to what to do if you are showing positive on your swabs for Covid-19. I know that in the past in some situations people have been isolated until they are showing 2 consecutive negative tests, but this appeared to be the guidance for release from hospital or enforced quarantine when returning from abroad. Some other countries have a similar policy. So with the information I was given, I am not sure if I can still infect others or not and that is something I am obviously worried about. As I have someone close to me who works in the NHS, I asked them for guidance, and they informed me I need to stay in isolation for a further 7 days and until I no longer show symptoms. As for work, I’m not sure what their guidance will be, if I need further testing or not.

I think it is positive that they are finally testing more key workers (although they have not fully extended this to all key workers, which is still definitely not enough in my opinion), but to not follow up the result with any form of advice is shockingly poor and its no wonder that the virus continues to spread. Another issue that seems to have been overlooked is that although supermarkets are offering priority delivery slots to those who are vulnerable (which is positive), there is no provision for people who are self-isolating due to being symptomatic or having a diagnosis. Delivery slots are pretty impossible to get if you aren’t vulnerable, and if you don’t have someone who lives outside your house who is able to give you a doorstep delivery, you need to survive on what you have or break the law to go to the supermarket.

Thankfully I have what is referred to as “mild symptoms” and pneumonia hasn’t developed, but even then I still felt so incredibly unwell and 2 weeks on I still have symptoms. I’ve also infected my partner as its not really too easy to isolate when you live with someone. I can’t impress upon everyone just how important it is to follow the government guidance and minimise the amount you’re around other people. I managed to contract the illness going into work twice a week and going to the supermarket on the way home on those 2 days per week. I was careful and still managed to become unwell. So please everyone, be careful, stay inside (yes I know its dull, but the longer you don’t, the longer the country has to and the more likely you’ll get sick and won’t be able to go out!), and take care of yourselves and others. And of course, stay wonderful 😉

The continuing diminishment….

Hi wonderlanders,

That’s correct, I am still alive. I promise that I am working on some other posts on some recent events (recent…*ahem* February…) I just haven’t got around to finishing them due to being quite busy with life catching up to me. As you may be aware, we’re planning for the wedding and there have been quite a few things to do recently for it. So this post may turn into a general update, but the main reason I am writing the post is that I have hit another milestone!

You might recall that I am on the Slimming World plan and I said that I’d post when I’ve hit a milestone such as dropping a size or reaching a milestone with the amount of weight I have lost. Last week, I reached a total of 2 stone lost. It has been a hard fight to get to this one to be honest, there have been a few gains and maintains and things have kind of yo-yo’d for a bit, partially due to Christmas and partially due to the amount of events I’ve had on, combined with my will-power taking a bit of a holiday. My original target when I joined Slimming World was to lose 2 stone, but as I started to be successful with my loss, I decided to increase my target. I never thought when I first started that I’d even get to the 2 stone and that’s why I didn’t set the target I have now.

Something that still rings true that I wish didn’t, is that the weight doesn’t always come off from where you want it to. The way I set my target was that each stone is roughly one dress size, but for me, its just over a stone per dress-size. Something I have come to realise is that whilst in the process of weight loss, don’t get too attached to clothes or underwear because you only have it for a few months before you have to say goodbye to it. Until I get to my target I am trying to still be reasonably sensible with how many clothes I buy, but it is tricky as you still need to have clothes that aren’t falling off you. As much as that is a pain, it is nice to see myself being able to buy smaller and smaller items. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I was able to buy anything in a women’s wear department that was a “medium”.

Apart from the weight-loss stuff, I have been busy with wedding prep, as I mentioned earlier. I’m going to put an entry on my wedding blog about some of the more recent happenings on that front. It seems like all of a sudden, there’s lots of stuff to do with the wedding and the year is going so fast! Don’t get me wrong, I am very much looking forward to getting hitched, but at the same time, its crazy how fast the year is going! I’ve had a couple of gigs so far this year (which I am in the process of writing about, honest!) and I do have more planned (which hopefully should be far enough in the future to not be cancelled in the mass Covid-19 panic).

So that’s a bit of an update of how things are at the moment and why I’ve not been particularly active on here. Short answer: adulting. But also a minor celebration of a hard-fought milestone. I’ll post soon (honest) about the gigs from February, until next time, stay wonderful 😉

Using my crafty powers for good…

Hi wonderlanders!

I know that once again, I have been pretty quiet recently, but I have been a bit of a busy bee. I’ve had quite a lot going on personally and trying to get a few things on track, as well as continuing the planning and funding of our wedding, but I have also been working on something else!

After saying how important it is to have some time “wasting time” I have sadly done precious little of that, but for a good reason! It will no doubt have not passed anyone by the Australia was on fire for quite a considerable amount of time, and much of the land was thoroughly burnt, along with a lot of the wildlife. People lost their homes, people lost their lives, people lost their livelihood, but so many animals lost their lives, homes and families. At the start of the year, a movement started on Facebook of UK crafters (people who could sew, knit and crochet) who started creating items to help in the rehabilitation of these animals, such as artificial pouches for orphaned joeys, wraps and pouches for bats, and artificial nests for birds. The movement grew and gathered so much traction that by the end of January, there were more items than were needed at the time with some to spare for future disasters! Here, we’re talking literally thousands of items created in a short space of time by UK crafters and transported over the Australia either through people taking items in their suitcases who were already due to go over, massive shipments and also through companies such as Bentley who also agreed to take over a number of items.

Following this, people realised that this is a pretty awesome thing to do and wondered “can we do anything to help our local wildlife causes?”. Since then, a UK based movement for UK wildlife charities has started! Each month, different causes are identified depending on the needs of the type of animals and the time of year. So I am proud to say, I have had a part in creating some wildlife pouches for small critters who may need a little help. This is something I am going to continue with over time as well. Here are some of the creations I made for the wildlife causes and hopefully, some little hoglets will be calling some of these pouches “home” temporarily.

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Although, financially at the moment I am not able to help charities really, this is something I can do to help (what with all of my fabric stash just sitting there and raiding other people’s old bed sheets etc.). I am hoping that through the year I can find other ways to help other causes, even if I’m not able to do this through my own finances. So that is what I have been up to in January wonderlanders! I hope you’ve all had a good January and are staying safe in the crazy 2020 that the world appears to have had so far! Until next time, stay wonderful 😉

Clothes. That’s it, that’s the post.

Hi Wonderlanders,

Bit of a different type of post from me today (although I suppose technically most of my posts are since my blog doesn’t have a theme except “stuff I do”…) Today I thought I’d talk about clothes. There is actually a point to this, its not just random, and its kind of linked to my weight loss journey. Something I didn’t really think about when I started losing weight was the “in progress” section of time, so the time between my original weight and my target weight. In this time, I still need to wear clothes (obviously) and there comes a point where the original clothes become massively too baggy to wear. It probably sounds like a really stupid thing to not consider, looking only at the final goal clothes, but there we go.

If I bought a new wardrobe every time I went down a size, at the rate I am losing weight, I would be buying a new wardrobe once every few months. That includes casual clothes, work clothes, going out clothes, underwear, everything! As you can probably imagine, that’d quite a pricey job if I were to fill my wardrobe every few months with new clothes. I decided that it was not a viable option and that I’d have to be reasonably smart about how I’d go about this. Obviously, my band shirts etc. aren’t going anywhere. I will continue to wear them even if I have to start classing them as dresses. But when it comes to workwear, I can’t continue to wear that when it is clearly a size too big. Rather than buying brand new clothes, I turned to charity shops. I am lucky in that there are plenty of charity shops where I live, including a slightly alternative/vintage one where I can buy dresses etc for going out. I have happily spent days going around and scouring all of the charity shops I came across for workwear, jeans, dresses, skirts, everything. From all of my “charity shop diving” (as I like to call it), I have managed to find sufficient workwear to replace the stuff that was now a size too big, including more formal workwear for when I have to be dressed formally. This included 2 suits, a few spare pairs of work trousers and a whole load of tops. On top of that, I managed to find some jeans, a scarf and some casual shirts. All-in-all on the whole haul, I managed to spend no more than £70. Pretty impressive considering that the suits were from Marks & Spencer, the trousers were Dorothy Perkins and Next, some of the tops were also Marks & Spencer. Buying all of this new, I would never have been able to get as much as I did, and the level of quality I did. I was over the moon with what I managed to find.

There’s loads of upsides to charity shop diving. The biggest of which is of course that you are helping some great causes. As a side bonus, buying “pre-loved” clothing means that you are basically recycling clothes. This helps the environment as then less is being thrown away and it also means less is being invested in so-called “fast fashion” (the type of clothing that is cheap and people often see as disposable). Don’t get me wrong, some of the items I buy would be of the “fast-fashion” type because while my body is in flux, there are still some things I can’t find in charity shops and I need. But such shops are my last resort rather than my first. I try to not buy clothes that aren’t necessary and there are items that I love the look of and really want to buy new (like on certain websites) but at the moment, I am restraining myself because I know it will only fit for a short period of time.

I think its important that I get rid of my big clothes as soon as I have moved down a size, otherwise it is all too easy just to slip back to that. I feel that if I get rid of them, its as if I’m saying “I’ll never need these again because I’m going to lose the weight and keep it off”. I think its an important mindset to have, to keep thinking of the positive and keeping my goals in mind. In order to do this, I’ve been selling some items that are too big and others I have donated to charity shops. The stuff I’m selling helps to fund smaller replacements from charity shops and the stuff I’ve donated can help the charities make more money. So really, it all has positive side effects.

So basically, I thought I’d write a post about how I get round the clothing issue, and also to encourage people to go check out their local charity shops because it helps you, it helps others and you can find some great things. I find it kind of exciting when I get a good find. So go check them out, get a good haul and of course, stay wonderful 😉