Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday 9 February 2013: C's ingrowing worry

Catmint has been in abeyance since New Year while we grind on with the cold and the snow, and Dave's latest injury (fell off his workbench and sprained a ligament in his right knee) and most of all with Catherine feeling ill every day - reflux, nausea, griping pains below, feeling painfully full after a couple of mouthfuls. She has endured another difficult procedure - gastroscopy - and must wait another couple of weeks to discuss the results with a doctor. Going back on a gluten-free and also dairy-free diet may well help. Feeling her stomach is blocked, though, is worrying and difficult to cope with, and the more she worries the worse it gets. She has found the label gastroparesis, but I just don't know which came first with her : the name or the symptoms - whether reading about the symptoms is enough to cement them into her brain and therefore body in a case of terminal addiction to medical websites, or whether it stems as she still thinks from injury to her stomach, and in either case how to break out of it. Mrs Harling thinks, and I think I feel it too, that it's the accumulated strain of last year taking it out on her gut. With C so much of a worrier, and very much on her own with no close friend around except me, who knows too much, her whole state of mind is like an ingrowing toenail.

But in the last few days there have been gleams of light - Corrymeela have asked her to go over for 3 weeks or so around 11 March; and meeting up with Natasha yesterday cheered everything up; and Camp America is definitely on for June. Also the decision to go g-f and dairy-free is something more positive to do than just worrying.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Tuesday 1 January 2013 Difficult Christmas

One good thing is the extra few minutes of daylight each day. Another is that M&S are keeping
Catherine on for another eight weeks, one of only four of the temporary Christmas staff to be chosen. This news raised her spirits one degree yesterday, for about two hours..
For the rest, she spends her time in a black and cheerless swamp, where it looks like she's wallowing but probably feels like she's silently drowning. This is because of the continuing acid reflux, which she is convinced she brought on herself by drinking vodka once in September. It started then and hasn't got better, so she is sure she has caused herself irreparable damage. I tell her that even if the vodka triggered it, it's her coeliac condition that perpetuates it, and produce the web pages that support this, but she won't accept this possibility and continues to beat herself up over what happened three months ago. I am sure the constant fretting and recrimination is making it feel a lot worse. It also says online that changing to a gluten-free diet will help cure the reflux, but this can take three months from diagnosis. She has only been gluten free for 10 days and probably hoped for instant improvement, so disappointment makes it feel worse again. Each of us thinks the other is in denial, and today she stopped talking to me so I must have been extra annoying.

Although it's been good to have Rik and Nicole here, all that seems to have happened over Christmas is worrying about Catherine. She spent most of her birthday in bed with a temperature, not for the first time. The raging industrial Christmas that beset the Merseyway shops, and the cold wet weather, and the dead time between bank holidays (which, from our point of view, puts beyond reach the doctors who might actually explain things properly to Catherine) make us think that the best thing we could do next year is go away somewhere sunny