I am appalled to be 60, but have to get on with it now. In many ways I still feel that I am 16 and can't have learnt much in between. Two benefits are a senior railcard and the prospect of about £200 per month local government pension. Disadvantages are many and horrific and to do with sliding faster and faster away from the young people whose lives light up the world. But then it's up to me to stop sliding.
Rik sent a beautiful bunch of roses and lilies in an enormous box. Catherine gave me a lovely long M&S jumper and scarf, and took me Christmas shopping in Buxton. She steered me through several purchases and supplied other ideas, but soon I found I just couldn't cope with all the choices and people and prices and shops; I screwed up with panting breath and hammering heart and had to leave off shopping, and then the train was cancelled... Being screwed up over shopping was just stupid. Later this evening it was her turn to get upset with much better reason over feeling so ill for so long: nothing seems to control the stomach discomfort and the acid reflux that spoils every meal. Five days in, the gluten-free diet hasn't had any result yet, but she has unexpectedly got an appointment for endoscopy on 22 January - a lot earlier than we expected, but it means she must go back to eating gluten until she is tested, which may mean increasing the damage.
One positive development is her application to spend a few weeks at Corrymeela, a place I found inspirational back in 1977. They replied to her enquiry with only 3 - 4 days' delay, and sounded both nice and interested in her; at least, they encouraged her to complete her application, which she has done with care and thoughtfulness as usual.
Saturday, 8 December 2012
Catherine has been waiting nearly four weeks for attention since the doctor told her the latest blood test showed positive for coeliac disease and she'd need an endoscopy to confirm it. Meanwhile she is meant to continue eating gluten-containing food so that the reactions they provoke will show up on the tests. But these foods produce the nausea, tummy pains, fatigue, bloating, etc that have been plaguing her for months. And she has just learnt - probably because I spent a good deal of Tuesday going in and out of the surgery and ringing them - that the waiting list is 14 weeks. So we have decided to go gluten free for a while and see if it makes a difference. Reading about it has confused me as to the difference between wheat intolerance and coeliac - some see them as a continuum as the symptoms are very similar, but apparently the causes and mechanisms are quite different. She seems to cope really well with work, considering how poorly she feels, though it's getting insanely busy, and from behind the till it seems that Christmas shopping aggravates everyone's worries and irritations, which get taken out on the sales assistants.But what gets Catherine down, besides feeling unwell, is the lack of definite plans for the months after the M&S job ends. So worries trundle on.