Indefatigable is definitely not me. Even at my best, in my early childhood and in my youth, as an asthmatic I could only do so much and then I would tire and have to rest awhile until my breathless wheezing would subside.

And more recently I really struggled for such a long time with my breathing and extreme fatigue after I caught Covid, pre-vaccination. It’s now been almost two and a half years since I had it, and although I am without doubt a million times better than I was back then I’m still not quite back up to my pre-Covid energy levels, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that there’s going to be no magic spell to wave it all away, this is just what is and Covid has left its invisible mark on me, like it or not.

But I still do what I can, when I can – if I feel like it, of course. Although nowadays it is usually reduced mobility and arthritic hip pain that slows me down before my restricted breathing or extreme fatigue kicks in, so its not nearly so noticeable anyway. I necessarily take my time and I always pace myself, so without question I’m even more of a plodding tortoise than an energetic hare than I was before! 🙂

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Indefatigable

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Subside


Procure or Endure

Wish I had the spare funds to procure
A new hip but I’m really not sure
Just how long I must wait
For an NHS date
Until then I must simply endure…

Just to say, I’m not really complaining about the NHS here, I think we have a potentially workable healthcare system here in the UK that is currently in complete crisis.

I certainly sympathise with the bloody awful situation the NHS is in post-pandemic (not that it was in the most robust of states before Covid, for that matter), and I know from personal experience just how hard individual staff members work on each shift.

If I’m complaining about anything it would be the Government having consistently demanded blood out of a stone year on year, well beyond the point of the NHS being left able to provide a manageable service.

But it’s still really frustrating to be on the receiving end of ever-expanding years-long waiting lists for debilitating health things (like my arthritic hip) to be treated with surgery.

It seems I will have to have completely ground to a halt joint-wise before anything can be done on the NHS with regard to them offering me a total hip replacement… sigh!

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Procure

My Dad and Dementia

Hold your memories close to your heart
For dementia will rip them apart
Tattered shreds haunt your mind
Broken threads hard to find
Shattered images fade, then depart...

I realise I haven’t written about my dad lately… He’s still with us in body if not always in mind, but it gets harder to see the tiny little differences in him every time I visit him in the care home where he now lives permanently. It’s as if he is slowly withdrawing from the world, day by day.

My dad will be 87 next month, but has had vascular dementia since he was 80, so over the last seven years the dad I knew and loved so much has slowly been disintegrating mentally in front of our eyes, piece by piece, memory by memory, which is just heartbreaking to experience.

In the last decade dad has had five strokes, each one leaving him with even more reduced mobility than before, and since the last small stroke just before Christmas last year he no longer has much speech. He whispers a soft ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when asked a direct question but not much else, so it’s difficult to know where he is in his mind any more, because he can’t tell us what he’s thinking or where he’s at, neither in time nor place.

In the past, sometimes dad would know I was his daughter, or at other times he would think I was his sister but as long as I knew where he was in his mind on that day, we could usually have a reasonable conversation regardless. And now I simply sit with him and hold his hand, talk a bit about life a bit, then go home and cry…

One of our neighbours, a sprightly 83 year old man who reminded me a lot of my dad as he used to be, died suddenly a couple of weeks ago. He had one massive stroke one day and was gone, just like that. It’s strange not seeing him around, but it’s made me think a lot about dad and his drastically reduced quality of life, and it hurts to remember that’s always how dad said he wanted to go – at home one minute, living a normal full life as usual, and then just gone…

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks simply – How are you? And I realise I am grieving for someone who is still alive, but not really living any more. Grieving for the loss of connection, and the closeness we always had, and the beauty of wholly belonging in someone’s heart without question.

Because now the question is, does dad even know who I am any more? Does he recognise me as his daughter, or does he still think I’m his sister, or is the occasional look of recognition he gives me just a vague familiar feeling that this is someone that I should know?

I still love my dad so very much and always will, but it saddens me so much to see him this way. The physical lack of mobility after the strokes I could cope with, but the mental deterioration of vascular dementia has so cruelly taken my beloved dad away from me, from all of us, and that reality makes me fiercely determined to live life while I can.

So don’t waste any more time procrastinating if there are important things you want to do before you die, because you never know what cruel twist of fate is waiting round the corner for you…

The Glow of Gardening

I must admit I’ve never been a gym bunny, I’m just not into treadmills and rowing machines and static cycles, or the kind of en masse exercise classes where everyone does aerobics or hot yoga or zumba together deliberately working up a sweat.

I’m not a naturally sporty girl, either, no running or gymnastics or hockey or netball or badminton or table tennis for me. I do like walking and swimming, although nowadays I have to be careful not to overdo anything with my arthritic hip. I have to do enough to maintain strength in my muscles but not so much that I put any further stress onto my crumbling joint, so it’s just a case of trying to get the balance right between doing and not doing the things I like that keep me active.

I really do enjoy gardening though, it’s such a good way for me to get a reasonably relaxing workout in the fresh air and I usually come in afterwards with a healthy glow in my cheeks, more from satisfaction than exertion… 🙂

JusJoJan: Exercise

Weekly Prompt: Glow

Just Breathe…

I don’t know why I get depressed. Or at least, I don’t always know why I get depressed.

Sometimes it’s a reaction to something – like right now, I’ve recently been made redundant and it’s left me feeling very vulnerable and a bit lost, so perhaps it’s not too surprising I’m struggling a bit emotionally at the moment, up and down in mood, frustrated and fearful and tearful at the drop of a hat.

But at other times there’s no real rhyme nor reason to it, yet I start to feel the familiar tensions and anxieties that are the precursor to a full-blown depressive episode and so I try harder to force my everyday life activities to over-ride that restless black void hovering so close on the periphery of my vision.

Sometimes that avoidance strategy works, my mood starts to lift before I descend into the darkness and all is well, but at other times I realise with sadness I’m already there, being sucked down silently into the welcoming blackness in a well-oiled elevator with no emergency stop button.

Once I’m at the bottom, I stop fighting it and just throw in the towel. The panic subsides, a lost cause in a chasm of despair. Like being sucked into emotional quicksand I just keep emotionally still, force myself to relax as best I can, let it all flow under me and over me and all around me and envelop me.

I am surrounded in thick black fog and yet I can still breathe, so I just do that – I breathe. I keep calm and hold my heart safe and instinctively feel my way through, going about the barest minimum of everyday activities of life as best I can, until eventually the darkness recedes and the light returns and I find myself free again, until the next time…

JusJoJan/ SOCS: Throw in the Towel

Weekly Smile: 16 Jan 2023

I haven’t participated in Trent’s Weekly Smile for ages, but here goes…

Since having Covid two years ago this month, my sense of taste has never fully returned – it comes and goes to a greater or lesser extent, but even on good days is never as fully vibrant or nuanced as it was pre-Covid. Luckily I’ve been cooking for so long I can usually manage to season things reasonably accurately just through experience, and when eating these days I generally ‘remember’ how things taste rather than properly taste them.

I’ve had a cold recently so my sense of taste has (as usual) pretty much disappeared again for the duration. However yesterday I made a chicken and vegetable stew for dinner, which we had with creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, and for the first time in ages I could taste something of the flavour rather than just be aware of the texture of the food in my mouth – so that’s my smile for this week, I could actually slightly taste my food again! 🙂

My Beautiful Dad

Today’s daily prompt on WordPress suggests:-

Talk about your father or a father figure in your life

I’ve been thinking such a lot about my 86-year-old dad recently. He’s had vascular dementia for the last six years, playing cruel tricks with his memory so that he doesn’t always know where he is, or when he is, what is reality and what is not, or how to do some of the most basic of things.

After several strokes over time progressively reduced his mobility bit by bit, it became abundantly clear to all of us that even with all the social care support packages available mum could no longer care for him at home. Eventually after a bad fall a year ago resulting in a prolonged stay in hospital, dad now lives in a nursing home. It’s not a perfect situation for any of us, but we are where we are and it is what it is.

Luckily for us dad usually (but sadly not always) knows who we are, or at least recognises us as family members at some level – he frequently thought I was his favourite sister rather than his daughter, but we still manged to have some great ghostly conversations set in the distant past and in many different places which he clearly enjoyed. To me it was still a valued connection between us.

He would regularly ask me how ‘the old folks’ were and had I seen them recently, meaning his parents (my grandparents) who have been dead for decades, so I would prevaricate a bit, then simply say as honestly as I could that I hadn’t seen them for a while but as far as I knew everyone in the family was well, which always seemed to reassure him well enough. I treasure those conversations and the familiar closeness they brought.

Lately dad’s speech wasn’t always that clear – sometimes he might slur a bit, or forget what he was saying, or shift slowly to another decade and the words would just fade away – but he could still speak, I could hear his voice and I could remember, smiling inwardly at his dad-like choice of words or his dry humour turn of phrase, and I would think – yes, my beautiful dad is still in there somewhere…

But now dad has had another small stroke, and although he has recovered a lot, sadly his speech has not returned this time. In fact, he’s not uttered one single, solitary word since. He smiles and he nods, still looking confused at times, but there are no words. And for me, for the reality that somewhere down the line without knowing it I have had my last ‘proper’ conversation I will ever have with my much-loved dad, for me too there are no words…

Love you, dad, to the end of time, and I wish you could know just how much I miss hearing your lovely voice… ❤