Saturday, August 29, 2015

A new normality

Nuala giving it socks at Miss Emily launch.

It's been taking a while to get used to my new normal since surgery. When you are at home all the time, you get cosseted into a false sense of being better than you are. Some of the things I've done this month keep reminding me that I am recuperating, at a better rate than I think sometimes, but still with a cost.
Poetry Divas: my gig essentials!
For instance in week 2, about the 6th August, I decided it would be a good idea to drive to Cavan to visit a good friend and colleague of mine - about an hour and a half of driving. Halfway into the journey my eyes started playing stalks with me, making me wish I'd waited perhaps another week: but I did do it and enjoyed the most wonderful afternoon tea at the Crover House Hotel, minutes from her home. This looks like a great place to stay in for a weekend away from it all, scenic lake, woodland and lots of walks - one for the future!
Afternoon tea at the Crover House Hotel
A few days later I enjoyed a whistle stop tour around the Ring of Gullion region with an artists' collective, ROGHA (Ring of Gullion Handcrafts and Art) which I thoroughly enjoyed, but also tested my tiredness limits. I was very enthused by the work on show, and the artists and handcrafts' people were really passionate about their own fields of interest, which rubbed off on us, their lucky audience.
Felting demonstration at ROGHA day out
Two weeks later I had a mini-holiday in Belfast with a friend, which consisted of an awful lot of talking, a huge deal of laughter and two (non-alcoholic!) late nights, but reminded me just how much I seemed to have lost when I was actually ill before the surgery - I'd gotten very 'cowish': quiet, insular and withdrawn (some of the symptoms that presage a pituitary tumour).

Sandwiched between those, was the wallpapering of feature walls in the family bedrooms, which was necessitated by the moving out of another offspring - middle son! - into his own independence. This means that the three left out of the sic, now have a room of their own, which of course they are delighted about.
My lovely bedroom wallpaper & a piece of felt art by Rachel Tinniswood
Somewhere along with all this I've been nursing a pinched nerve in the neck. I think I may have picked this up from the surgery, as I've since discovered that they bend your head right back, so as to get a good downward angle up your nose to the brain-base where the pituitary is located. I've been getting physio, and another MRI scan of the cervical spine reveals that there's a lot of disc degeneration - again, could have been related to lack of some hormones that help your body maintain its bone repair.

But in all this, I think there's an element of impatience with the recovery period - getting back to normal is all I want, but I don't have much patience with myself, as those who know me well, know only too well - so it could be said I've been getting in the way of my own wellness; although it's understandable when you've missed so much. There's an Irish expression that people have: not lying under an illness... as though it's a mortal sin to give in and admit you're unwell!

Anyway, a sign that things are coming to a new normal was that I was able to attend Nuala Ni's book launch last night, for her new and third novel, Miss Emily (nice review there), as well as performing with the Poetry Divas at Flying South, in Dublin 7, a wonderfully convivial artsy gathering of musicians, spoken word artists, comedy, drama, and whatever else you're having. They gather in the name of promoting the theme of mental health issues and I must say there was some really good music, stories and poetic material being aired: I was hugely impressed! I didn't do a lot of 'mingling' as I was trying to conserve energy, but I was happy with what I managed to achieve and I suppose you could say it was an affirmation of my own mental health.

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