Once, twice three times a doctor.

This morning my day started with a very long chat with my sister in law. We keep up with what each other is doing via Facebook buts it’s been ages since we had one of our long phone chats.

Not long after that my phone rang. It was the hospital. (Not the one I usually go to). They have got the results of my latest blood tests. I am now booked in for a telephone appointment on Tuesday afternoon.

Half an hour later another phone call from the hospital. This was a wrong number as I am not and never have been called Mary.

I have been feeling out of sorts today. I have had some news that although not altogether unexpected still shook me up a bit. I felt the need for cake. So before putting out my books I went to the shop. I was wandering around at a slow plod when my phone went off again.

This time it was the doctor I spoke to 2 weeks ago. She apologised that everything wasn’t progressing as fast as she had hoped. My latest blood test shows that my iron level is steady. Still very low due to iron deficiency.

She has prescribed iron tablets but I’m not to start them until I have had my telephone consultation with the hospital. Depending on how they want to proceed the iron tablets might be a no no. She says my vitamin b12 is ok, on the low end of the range but not too low.

At the moment everything hinges on this telephone call on Tuesday. I want to get this sorted out but I’m worried about what it will lead to.

I’m not looking too far into the future just taking it one step at a time.

I had been hoping to write something light hearted today as my last few posts have been a bit depressing. Maybe tomorrow I will have something happier to post.

Alcohol and the family

A couple of days ago I noticed that someone had been having a good look around this blog. Whether it was someone I know or not I don’t know. That someone had looked at lots of posts including one called where has my dad gone.

As i scrolled through the list of posts looked at I knew what most of them were about but this one puzzled me. My dad died in 1995. So it couldn’t be about him. This particular post was written back in 2015.

Reading it again it took me a little while to remember it. I was describing a visit to one of my sons in London. On the way to the flat he shared with his now wife and another couple. They stopped at a local shop. Whilst they were inside (I was waiting outside with my youngest son). A drunk was ejected from the store.

When my other son came out he asked “where has my dad gone?” I knew instinctively what he was on about. Growing up with an alcoholic father had an impact on my boys. This particular son could do a very accurate impression of his dad when he was drunk.

When my two eldest sons were going off to university within a week of each other I wanted to take my boys out for a drink. All four of them chose non alcoholic drinks even though two were old enough to drink and one was 17.

All four boys are now adults (2 are fathers) they do all drink now but only moderately. As a young adult my eldest son used to be the designated driver when out with mates. My second son was usually the one taking care of his drunken mates. Although I have heard a few tales of his drunkenness. My younger two are not keen on alcohol.

Talking about it earlier my mother commented that when she came to our house once when eldest was about 8 or 9 he told her. ” If you have come to see my part time father, he’s at the pub”. It is sad that from a very young age he knew the telephone number of the pub off by heart. ( Before mobile phones).

As a family our lives revolved around the pub even if we were not in one. If we went anywhere at the weekends we had to be back before the pub opened. My husband couldn’t cope with getting there after the door was unlocked. During the day his friends would come and go but he would still be there.

He would frequently phone home to say he would be back in half an hour. Other times he wanted me to fetch him. When I did (with boys in tow) he would need to finish his drink. I always refused to have a drink. Sometimes it would take several hours before he managed to leave. Often I just left him there and went home.

My boys grew up knowing that their father was very good at making promises. Not good at keeping them. They learnt never to expect him to keep a promise. He would buy them play station games or football shirts to make up for not being there. I lost count of the birthdays he missed because he was five minutes away in the pub. I don’t know where he got the money for his guilt gifts. We never had enough money for the bills.

I learnt over the years that everything was an excuse to drink. Bad day at work, good day at work, hot day, wet day. Money worries or me being annoyed with him.

After I divorced him he was upset that he didn’t want to be a weekend father. I said that would be an improvement. He would arrange to see the boys. Not do much the eldest as he was off leading his own life. Frequently he would either cancel seeing them or he wanted them to lend him money for cigarettes or beer or both. When they did see him I would drop them off. Happy to have some me time. It never lasted. I think 2 hours was the longest before I got the plea from them to pick them up.

I am happy to say that he gave up drinking about 4 or maybe it’s 5 years ago now. He is better for it. He is trying hard to rebuild his relationship with his sons and have a good relationship with our grandchildren.

Since i moved back here to live with my mother I see him regularly. He has been a great help to both of us in the last couple of years. I wouldn’t go back to him but we are at least friends now.

There’s no helping some people

I have been talking to mother about care/nursing homes. She was saying that when my grandfather went into a care home and then a nursing home she didn’t give him any choice of where to go. She chose for him. Both homes were friendly and suited his needs and ours. I particularly liked visiting him in the care home although it was an hour drive for us.

When it was time for him to move to a nursing home we found one closer to us here. I was able to visit on my way home from work. I’m not going to say that he was happy there. I’m not sure he was happy. He was comfortable and well cared for. Unlike many of the other residents he still had his mind in full working order. He missed having anyone to talk to properly.

Mother has made a mental list of things she wants to take with her when/if she needs to go into a care home. She knows which paintings, books and music she wants and if possible her laptop if the home has WiFi. I have suggested several times in the last couple of years that maybe she should consider which homes would suit her otherwise she will be going where ever I find.

Talking of having WiFi reminded me of when my husband sold our marital home. He was 64 and having difficulty looking after himself and our home. I found a flat in sheltered accommodation for him. He checked it out and decided to buy one of the flats there. Not the one I found but another one.

The plan was that he would move straight from the house to the flat. Obviously he would have to sell/store most of the furniture. About two weeks before the planned move he had a meeting with the warden of the flats. This did not go well. Apparently they don’t have facilities for broadband which he needed for his graphic design work. They were also not happy that he wanted to work. (He hadn’t worked during our marriage).

I found him bed and breakfast accommodation to move into until he found somewhere permanent. Instead of a few weeks as originally planned he was there for 9 months. Finally finding a top floor studio flat. (Not ideal for someone who has frequent falls). He has now been in that flat for 2 years. The last time I spoke to him he still didn’t have any internet service connection. His ability to use technology is zero.

I don’t know if it is still the case but at the start of the year he had been having someone check on him weekly and meals delivered daily. He could have avoided so much hassle and be in a much nicer flat than the studio flat he now has if he had bought the original place where he would have had a warden checking on him.

Considering that he can’t use his computer. He can’t even get his TV working and he certainly doesn’t work. It would have been ideal for him. In a much nicer area and close to the town.

Even after leaving him I still did what I could to help him. I’ve stopped now.

Not caring

Throughout my adult life I have been caring. I guess it began when I was a child. I didn’t do the caring for but I cared. I cared about my mum and dad and one of my younger brothers. Not so much the youngest he was a bully to us.

Anyway as an adult I had my children to care for. I was 25 when my first born came into my life. This baby that needed me to care for and be responsible for. Over the next 8 years his three brothers arrived. I loved caring for my children although there were times when I didn’t want to be a mother anymore. It was such hard work.

When I reached the stage where I could no longer tolerate being married to their father I did everything I could to be strong enough to continue caring for my children. Their father threatened to have them taken away from me. He could prove that I wasn’t a good mother. As if!

Once their father had finally left our home by court order. It was just me and my four sons. The two older boys were starting to make their way in the world, but they still needed me to care for their well being. I was a single parent for about 5 years before I met husband number 2.

Little did I know that I would become my second husband’s carer pretty quickly after we married. My sons grew up and left home but I still had to look after my alcoholic husband. I had hoped that during this marriage we would be partners looking after each other.

Eventually i had had enough and left my husband. Moving in with my mother whilst I got my life in order. I was looking forward to living on my own with nobody else to care for.

That wasn’t to be. Gradually I found myself doing things for my mother who was becoming increasingly disabled. I am now her full time carer.

I would say that I have probably had less than s year of not having to care for someone other than myself. Even during the time after leaving my husband I still didn’t stop caring. I might not have been living with him but I was still making sure he had food, money etc. I was still taking care of his paperwork. Sorting out his insurance, car tax and other bills. I became his unpaid secretary and personal assistant. I visited him in hospital.

It has now been 3 months since I last heard from him so I guess I am not now caring for him. I have enough on my plate caring for myself and my mother.

On this sunny day

Apparently the lovely sunny weather of the last few days ends today. As from tomorrow it’s meant to be wet and windy for several days. This morning we had a couple of visitors. One being the man with the dog. The other being the gardener. The lawn got its first cut of the year much to the annoyance of the dog who stood at the window barking at the lawn mower. I went out this afternoon to collect and put out some Avon books. It was refreshing to be out in the sunshine. On my travels I made a small detour to pick up mum’s prescription.

Whilst we have had visits from the squirrels they have not been up to much mischief today.

I’m preparing to start growing some of my seeds ready to go out into the garden once we stop having frosts in the mornings. I don’t have anywhere suitable to grow them so I am going to use a tray on the dining table to put the small propagators that I have bought. I am planning to grow nasturtiums (they can go strait in the garden), california poppies plus 25,500 mixed flower seeds suitable for pollinators. I am also going to try some freesias and I have some out of date seeds that I am hoping will be ok. Larkspur, foxgloves and hollyhocks.

Last year my mother kept telling people that I had suddenly become a gardener! No mother, I have always done gardening in all my previous homes. I wanted a pretty garden and had nobody to do it for me so I had to do the gardening. When I met my second husband he was a part time gardener. I let him do 90% of the gardening at our home as I was working full time and he wasn’t. Just like I let him take care of our cars. He used to ask me why I didn’t check the oil etc. I told him that as he was a petrol head I would give him that pleasure after all if I had a dog I wouldn’t bark .There were many chores that I had stopped doing when I married him. I would tell him that it wasn’t that I couldn’t do these things but I no longer had to do them as I had him to do them for me (that was the theory).

Getting back to gardening. Last year, the weather was good during the spring. I wasn’t going out anywhere and wanted colour in a garden that is mostly mature shrubs so I set about filling pots and tubs with seeds. Because of my health I wasn’t able to do any heavy gardening. I still can’t do as much as I would like but hopefully I can do more than last year.

In January we had a new fence erected I have already hung coloured pots with individual polyanthas plants on the fence.

Not on my neck!

I missed the start of the item on the news so I only caught the end of it. A lady was speaking about not wearing polo neck jumpers. It was something about her neck. At first I thought she had had her thyroid removed. As the news item continued I became confused. The journalist was talking about domestic violence.

I have never claimed to be a victim of domestic violence. I was a victim of emotional abuse/coercive control. However during our divorce, (a time when we still lived in the same house for 7 excruciating months). He thought it was funny to put his hands around my neck on an almost daily occurrence. He didn’t use pressure, he never left any marks.

He was aware that I didn’t like anything around my neck so he used it as a form of mental torture.

I hadn’t given it much thought in the last 15 years but having said that it does limit my choice in clothing. I can’t wear anything with a high neckline. Anything that is anywhere near my neck and I start to panic.

15 years later we are friends now. It helps having two grandchildren in common. He was here (as our support bubble) for coffee and a chat this morning. We don’t talk about the bad times. However I don’t think I will ever wear a high necked top/jumper again. Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.

Mr Blue Sky

The sun has been out today and the sky has been oh so blue. Apparently many have rushed to the beaches and parks to make the most of this lovely day. Out on my rounds delivering to my Avon customers I saw many people working on their gardens.

Every time I think about how blue the sky has been. (Not now the light is fading and it will soon be dark.) I consider bursting out into song. One particular song, yes you guessed it Mr Blue Sky by ELO. There was a time when my youngest son was but a boy this was one of his favourite songs.

I have refrained from singing. I don’t sing very often these days. Sometimes when I am listening to music through my earphones I just can’t resist singing along, much to my mother’s amusement. She wouldn’t be so amused if I burst into full song. I used to love singing at the top of my voice when driving along the motor way, windows open radio turned up high. I don’t do this anymore mainly because I no longer have a daily drive along the motorway to and from work.

I used to sing a lot in my car. I kind of but not really feel sorry for the lads who I would take to football training and matches along with my own sons. The rule was if you are in my car, you have no choice but to put up with my singing. Singing made me happy. Singing helped me to get over headaches. My second husband played guitar and was in a band in his younger days. He was passionate about music but I never ever heard him sing. He found it amusing that I sang. He even said that now and again I was even in tune!

On the one hand I would say that I am tone deaf so singing wasn’t one of my talents. On the other hand I have often said that I am very good at singing the only problem is that other people don’t have the ability to hear it properly.

Who has a talent that others don’t appreciate and what is it?

I’m not like them

I have often been told that I come from a long line of strong women. I am told that I am a strong woman too. I have memories of my Great Grandmother Alice but only as a very old woman. I have memories of my paternal Great Gran (mostly of having to stay with her and being fed undercooked eggs for breakfast). I understand that both these women were strong willed women in their day.

I obviously have memories of both my Granny and my Grandmother. My Granny was one of my favourite people in the world. I can’t in all honesty say that I knew a great deal about her life but I loved her dearly. She was taken away from us far too soon, She had a massive heart attack in the night when she was just 67. My Grandmother was a lady who I wasn’t so close to when I was growing up. I grew closer to her in her later years. How many women in their 90s complete a degree with the Open University.

My own mother has always been strong. My father wasn’t inclined/able to support us properly so my mother trained (whilst bringing up 3 teenagers) to become a Lawyer. Life wasn’t easy for my mother when we were small. She did what she could to make a better life for all of us.

During my adult life I have been reminded by my mother that we are strong women. I have been told by others that I am so strong. I struggled to bring up 4 boys whilst being married to an alcoholic. I survived stage 3 cancer in my late 30s. I fought to get through a nasty divorce. I managed to keep myself and 4 boys going through financial struggles following my divorce. Then I remarried and found myself hitched to another alcoholic who was also a narcissist. I managed to get out of that situation.

All my life I have been reminded that I am strong and come from a line of strong women. I’m not though. I have never felt strong. I have done what I had to do for my boys. I have always felt that I have to get through everything because I come from a line of strong women. I can’t let the side down and be the first non strong woman.

I want to be allowed not to be strong. I want to not have the responsibility of keeping up with my strong women.

WHY do I have to always be strong?

Relationships

A few days ago I went to have a look at a blog written by someone who had liked one of my posts. I started reading a post about relationships and letting God into your relationship. So many people give up on their marriage at the first sign of problems but if you let God into your relationship you can get over any problems you have.

This might upset some people but although I consider myself to be a Christian and try to live in a way that is kind to others. I do not actually believe in God. I kind of believe that there is something greater than us mortals but I’m not sure what. I digress. What I really want to say is that I think this philosophy that God will make your marriage work is a dangerous one.

It doesn’t take into account the many relationships that include abuse, either physical or emotional or both. It doesn’t take into account the marriages/relationships based on lies.

My first marriage was to a man who was what is now referred to as coercive controlling. I didn’t realise for a long time what was happening. It started with the dictates over what I wore. He didn’t like me dressing up to look nice. I ended up spending my time (outside of work) wearing baggy T-shirts, sweatshirts and baggy tracksuit trousers. Then there were the constant phone calls which, I now know, were not concern over how I was doing each day (multiple times) but checking up on me. If I was late home from the school run I had to explain where I had been and who with.

I was gradually pulled away from my friends. “They are using you”. When I eventually got a mobile phone the checking up increased. Even if I was with my mother the calls would be constant. In the end she would ask me to turn it off. If I had plans to go out, he would only arrive home at the very last minute to look after the children. Even having a part time job was difficult, I felt I was becoming unemployable because he often didn’t come home in time for me to go to work. That’s just a sample of what life was like in that relationship. I fail to see how this would have been helped by having God in my life.

My second marriage was not better, it was different. Again I don’t believe God would have made life better. When I met my second husband he knew that my first husband was an alcoholic and I didn’t want to travel that road again. It wasn’t until 6 months after we were married that I found out that he was a secret drinker. Our marriage was based on lies. I never would have married him or even gone out with him, if I had known he was an alcoholic. With my first husband his drinking was public. 18 pints of beer at the pub, any excuse for a drink. My second husband was home alone all day while I was out working. Now I know why nothing ever got done. He was sitting in his home office drinking bottles of vodka. No wonder he got through so much cash. No wonder he didn’t need to drink much when we were out.

My second husband is a narcissist, everything was about him, his needs, his wishes. His dislike of my children (he had promised to treat them like his own). He could never refer to them by name, to him they were ‘pond life’ or worse. I know this was a reflection on him not them. How would God have made life better when one partner is a narcissitic alcoholic?

These are just simple examples of the relationships I had with my husbands. There are many many people, not just women but men too who live in worse situations than I did. For them they need to get out of their situation not invite God to help them stay in it.

I’m not saying that there is not a place for God in marriages, just not all marriages. Some people would also find God helpful in their lives whilst they get out of their situation. God also has a place in helping people recover from those situations. I don’t think it’s right to say he can make every relationship work.

Writing

In my family it would seem that the women are/were writers. Both my grandmothers wrote. I have always known that my maternal grandmother wrote short stories. I have a copy of one that she wrote. I believe that she wrote stories for WI but also sent some to magazines. My mother told me years ago that her mother had earnt money from doing this. It was only in recent years that I discovered that my paternal grandmother had a whole file of poetry that she had written. I have never read any of it.

When I was young I liked to write short stories (mostly for children) I never did anything with them. It was just a hobby during the quiet periods at work. When I was 21 my maternal Granny died of a heart attack. After her death I couldn’t bring myself to write any more stories. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up a paper and pen. I thought that was the end of my writing. In truth I carried on writing but not in the same way. Over the years when I was troubled I would write down my feelings. If someone had hurt me, whether in my romantic life or in life generally, I would write them a letter. I never gave /sent the letters but it helped me to put my thoughts together.

I have always known that my mother liked to write. we were talking about it yesterday. She has a file of poetry that she has written throughout her life. I can’t say that poetry is my thing but there have been a few scribblings in the past. Writing must be in my blood. Both my husbands have been good at art (second husband was a graphic designer). My eldest son and his fiancee are both artistic. I can’t draw a straight line let alone anything else but my artistic side comes out in my writing and recently my knitting.

After the end of my first marriage I joined the world of blogging. Years of living in a coercive controlling environment for many years my confidence was at rock bottom. Blogging helped me to grow my confidence. I became part of an online community. I received feedback from everything I wrote. I was getting the affirmation I hadn’t had before. I started writing posts about my life. I also began to write short stories which I shared with my friends. A few years down the line I was writing less and less. I was running out of inspiration. I was also working full time again as well as running a home and family as a single mother. I was tired.

I had been married to my second husband for about 9 months when a friend inspired me to start this blog. Over the years I have had problems with finding things to write about. I didn’t want to constantly write about my marriage. I didn’t want to write about people in my life. I have written the occasional piece for several years. It is just recently that I have begun to write more regularly again. I am never going to write a best selling novel. I might eventually get back to writing short stories again but for now I am happy just putting words together for my blog. Each day is something different. That in itself is amazing in this current life of not going anywhere or doing anything.