Christmas Tree

It’s Saturday again and time for Linda’s Stream of Consciousness post, this week with the prompt of ‘tree’. All of a sudden (or so it feels) it’s two weeks today until Christmas and my Christmas tree is still currently residing in the loft along with the other decorations. Probably time to take it down and do some decorating. But this year everything feels so ominous, with the Omicron variant of Covid spreading like wildfire and no-one knowing what 2022 will bring for us all when it comes to this never-ending pandemic. Family-wise we have some serious ongoing stuff going on, so the thought of putting up a tree feels a bit irrelevant and trivial in the circumstances. But I’m going to do it anyway and mark the end of the year the way we always do, with the familiar rituals of the festive season getting us through the dark days of the winter solstice and hopefully on to brighter days ahead…

Review… Who Knew…?

December is usually the month I review the year that has just passed, a kind of individual, personal retrospective from my own point of view. Not at the end of the month, like many do for the approaching new year, but at the beginning, around the time of my birthday. I like to think a lot about how I’d expected the year to go against how it has actually unfolded, about the good bits and the bad bits and all the bits in between, and start to think about all my nascent hopes and fears for the upcoming next year ahead…

And I have to say in pretty much every aspect of life 2021 has not exactly been the year I had anticipated way back when. After all the global worry and confusion and stop-start lock-downs of the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020 I’d hoped 2021 would be more upbeat, more positive… more post-Covid normal again… But of course who knew that, for me at least, 2020 was only the precursor for the even bigger shit-show that has been 2021.

Positives include my husband celebrating his 60th birthday and my son being able to come to visit us for a week over the summer, which was wonderful – my son lives in the area of Scotland that has had the worst of Covid restrictions applied to its residents throughout this pandemic, so I really appreciated being able to see him in the flesh for the first time in almost a year. Oh yes, and I started a new job at the end of the summer – just a temporary contract covering someone’s maternity leave, but better than nothing…

Negatives include me catching Covid very early in January, not bad enough to be hospitalised but debilitating enough for it to have developed seamlessly into Long Covid, the last dregs of which I’m still not quite clear of, 11 months on. And then I was made redundant in the Spring, worrying enough for anyone but for me in my late 50s and now with Long Covid I worried I might not be able to find another company willing to take me on, although thankfully that particular worry turned out to be fruitless.

Additionally my ongoing slowly-worsening long-term hip pain has recently been diagnosed as osteo-arthritis, which I’m frustratedly coming to terms with while limping along with painfully reduced mobility. Sadly my dad’s dementia has definitely got a lot worse this year, the deterioration in his mental capacity is striking but not surprising, and after a bad fall at home he’s currently in our local hospital and will now have to go into long-term care afterwards rather than return home.

And worst of all my very poorly 8-year-old grandson (who has two long-term health conditions) is also currently in hospital with his mum there to look after him, but this time 100 miles away from the rest of his family and with a very serious surgery looming on the horizon for him early in the new year, so health-wise it’s been a worrying time for our close-knit little family.

I suppose having had my two Covid vaccines plus booster has to count as one of the good things, too? But needing to have them at all is not – and right now with this new Omicron variant spreading like wildfire, what hope is there for Covid being any less of a concern for everyone in 2022?

So I think this year I should maybe just forget about trying to think ahead to next year, and just take it all as it comes, because we’ve got no way of knowing what the world will have in store for us in the future… We are where we are, like it or not, and it will be what it will be…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: ‘Rev’

Early Morning Inverness

At this time of year it can still be slightly dark when I walk to work – this was taken the other morning on the footbridge crossing the River Ness. I love the semi-silhouette of the skyline, the greys and whites of the sky and water, and the different blacks of the buildings. Even in full colour there’s a calming monochrome quality to the view…

So I’m going to cheat and use my post for both today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and this week’s Cee’s B&W Challenge 🙂

Booking In for a Hospital Visit

My 85-year-old dad recently had a bad fall at home so has been in hospital for the last few days, spending the first day in A&E and the second in a short-stay ward before moving yesterday to a proper Care of the Elderly ward.

The last time he was in hospital, early on in the first Covid pandemic lock-down, no visitors were allowed at all so we didn’t see him at all for five weeks, from admission to discharge. We could of course speak to him on the phone but for an old man with dementia that was really difficult to deal with.

This time around, however, limited hospital visiting is allowed. You have to book a visiting slot in advance to ensure there are not too many people on the ward at one time, and you have to stick strictly to your allotted time, but the point is we’re allowed to visit, which is wonderful! I actually had my outpatient hip X-Ray done at the hospital yesterday (it went fine, results available from my GP in two weeks) so I booked a visiting slot with the ward immediately afterwards. It was so good to see dad, to see him content and well looked after – his confusion is quite bad, and his mobility is awful, but it was so reassuring to see him in the flesh. I had to wear my mask for the whole visit, but at least I got to see him.

They think dad had been particularly unsteady on his feet at home due to a urine infection adding to his usual poor mobility (because of right-sided weakness due to several strokes in the past). The urine infection also exacerbated his usual dementia confusion, then to cap it all a bad bump on the head due to the fall gave additional cause for concern. I mean, how do you test for concussion in someone with dementia? Thankfully his CT scan was clear, so no lasting damage done, so he just needs to get clear of the urine infection and back on his feet before being discharged.

I’m booked in to visit dad again this afternoon, so hopefully he’s a little bit better today… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Boo

Body Parts

OK, so Linda wants us to blog about body parts for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday… But which body parts should I write about?

What about my monkey-mind tangental brain, thinking myriad random ramblings 24hrs a day?

Or my vulnerable heart, sensitive and scarred, permanently open to both hurt and hope? And love, of course, don’t forget to include the love… ❤

Maybe I could focus on my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin – the physical touchy-feely sensational parts of me?

But I have to say the body parts foremost in my consciousness right now are the bits that are failing and slowing and seizing up – so in particular my right hip that is currently paining me night and day, internally screaming like a silent rusty hinge as I wait patiently for an appointment for an X-Ray to see what the joint damage might be… And ooh look, that means I can use this post for Fandango’s One Word Challenge too – result! 🙂

If…

If… Such a small word, such big consequences… It can suggest an infinite expanse of hope shimmering on the horizon, heralding the promise of better things for the future. Or it can sew the seditious seeds of doubt that can grow malevolently into a dark and twisted bitterness that sours the soul…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: If

Covers and Seals

I know someone who used to run Tupperwear parties, and she was always correcting me on my incorrect use of the word ‘lid’ – apparently Tupperwear don’t actually DO lids, they do either covers or seals. Apparently a cover… well, covers the vessel in question and a seal… um, actually seals the stuff in… But in my book both covers and seals are still types of lids, so there we go… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Lid

Near and Far

Near to where we live in Inverness is the Caledonian Canal – it’s about a five minute walk heading west from our front door. Alternatively, a ten minute walk heading east brings me to the River Ness. A pleasant half-hour walk heading north along the canal takes me to the Beauly Firth, while a half-hour walk heading south along either the canal or the river to the edge of town brings me to a narrow strip of land where I can easily see both the canal on one side of me and the river on the other. So luckily for me, in whichever direction I choose to walk when leaving our house, at least one body of water is never far away 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Near/ Far

Where Has She Gone?

I look in the mirror and see a fat, frumpy menopausal grandmother with a part time job in a local retail store. Someone very ordinary with greying hair and sagging, wrinkling skin and a lifetime of memories whirling around in her head… And I can’t help but wonder…

Where has she gone, that skinny little lithe-limbed, tom-boy tear-away with T-shirt tan and skinned knees?

Where is that troubled self-conscious teen with problem skin and burgeoning curves she has no idea what to do with?

Where is that fertile young mum doing her very best (but not always succeeding) to nurture her beautiful offspring, with stretch marks and constant baby-sick marks down her back and such tired, loving eyes?

Where is that struggling single parent juggling work and home and depression and difficult family times, a bit lost and lonely through what seems in retrospect to be the wilderness years?

Where is that scared, non-confident mature student, trying to find her fledgling academic feet nearly twenty years too late?

Where is that creative, artistic soul who so much loves making things… food, art, home, family, memories?

I look in the mirror and through my shining tears I suddenly see all the bare bones of her are still there, hidden under a surprisingly effective fat-suit layer of boring old lady disguise… Where has she gone? Nowhere… Because underneath it all I am she and she is me, still, always, and forever… ❤

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Where