Several lovely people have recently asked me how it’s all going, so here’s a little summary – and thank you for asking!
Two nights ago there was a storm, with plenty of thunder.
Two things shall follow this fact, as night follows day: 1) Darling Dog will freak out ALL NIGHT LONG, and 2) I shall develop a fever with a stinking headache and many and varied aches and pains.
These added up to a long night with very little sleep. Consequently yesterday, I was in real pain all day long. My back was a white-hot column of agony * and all my limbs hurt. It didn’t matter what I did: gentle stretching, yoga, a lovely walk, varying my position a lot, heat packs, meditation, avoiding the dreaded sitting, distraction … nope. It was a bad day.
That was just one day – not a flare-up – but it reminded me that not all is yet well in the Garden of Blossom.
Which was a timely reminder. Firstly that sleep has a huge impact on general well-being. Secondly that I am not, in fact, cured forever.
Which I think I could be forgiven for thinking a lot of the time, because life suits me very well at the moment. All this time to prioritise things like exercise, sleep, relaxation, mindfulness, good healthy food. All this general lack of stress and anxiety.
In general I am fitter, more flexible, way more relaxed. At the same time I’m busier – always keeping myself effortlessly occupied, mentally and physically. I’m happier more often, sleeping better and even my fingernails are less brittle!
I am loathe to say that it’s all due to not being at work. ** But it seems that housewiffery suits me right now.
Me hard at work in the garden (artist’s impression).
Eggs were a godsend, no joke. I had been constantly hungry and my body was telling me in no uncertain terms that it was lacking something. Also I was sick of eating slabs of dead animal (sorry).
I believe what I wanted was a secondary source of protein. At the moment, thanks to eggs, I no longer perpetually hungry. The amount of food I’m eating has decreased, funnily enough, I think because my body is coping better and getting more of what it needs.
And as far as I can make out, inclusion of eggs hasn’t caused any problems. The only real trouble I’ve had has been very obviously caused by storms, lack of sleep: that sort of thing. And I apologise to all the ‘Food Will Heal Everything (TM)’ folks, but I truly believe that for the rest of my life I will feel pretty rotten when it storms, and that nothing will ever change that.
As of yesterday I got the go-ahead to try reintroducing something new into my diet: either legumes, or nuts/seeds.
Oh, how I dithered! Nuts and seeds = things like hazelnuts (a big weakness), mustard seeds, sesame oil, almond meal. Salads with pecans. Pesto. Hot English Mustard.
But after some input from some of you (thank you) I went for legumes in the end. I was initially getting excited about green beans, broad beans, fresh peas, grain-free tamari, lentils. But several of you pointed out that legumes also come with a bonus extra food-group: cacao.
Okay then, legumes it is.
The deal is to begin with I need to go easy and document all changes, so I’ll let you know how it goes.
Let there be peas on earth.
Being a frugalistic housewiff
So far so good on the money front. We are being cautious in our spending and haven’t had any problems yet. Of course, I do have a little trickle of money coming in still. If I find I still can’t work without frightful pain, it will be a case of Leave Without Pay (or, you know: leave).
Also it’s relatively easy to start a frugal lifestyle when you’ve been moneyed up until that point. I still have no need for any new clothes or anything. Our house is in (relatively) good order. There haven’t been (touching wood) any big medical emergencies. We don’t have stuff that needs replacing.
However, I am finding life without spending as much really very pleasant. I have a lot to learn about doing it really well, but they are lessons I’m willing to take.
If legumes work okay for me, that will make things even easier because a bag of lentils costs a lot less than the equivalent number of meat-based meals. *** I’m really hoping I do okay with them, and with nuts and seeds later on, because with all that non-animal protein, there is my lovely pescatarian food back on the menu! Ka-ching! Good for the pocket, the environment, and (hopefully) the body.
Having more time to plan and cook meals also makes for less expensive meals, and I have more time to repair and re-use things too. I’m 100% certain that this more active, less stressful lifestyle will be going a long way towards reducing future medical expenses.
I’ve already started planning for Christmas: something I’d never be up for if I were still at work (even if I had the time there is no way I could manage the energy). I’m doing a lot of handmade gifts this year. Yes, somewhat frugal, but also I hope a bit more personal and thoughtful than just giving shop-bought stuff all the time. **** I’d love to tell you what I’m making, but that would spoil the surprise.
Speaking of surprises: it turns out I actively enjoy housework (shhh, don’t dob). Yes I certainly do identify as a feminist. Yes, I love my work and get a huge amount out of it. But, turns out that I am also really getting a kick out of housewiffery. I think the crucial part is choice. Although I’m currently off work for medical reasons, it was a choice on my part to do so. ***** The Captain and I are affording it so far and so it is all very pleasant. If there was no choice at all, things would be different. I can’t forget my grandmother, years ago, telling me how much she enjoyed working during the war. It really is all about choice.
To tell the truth, I’m also probably enjoying it because, in spite of the occasional day like yesterday, in general my pain levels are far more manageable and I don’t feel like I’m out of control of my life.
I know a lot of people are very keen for me to get back to work, but after nearly a month off there is no way I feel remotely ready. Especially after yesterday, which was a reminder of exactly how I was every day. And the thought of going back and just picking up where I left off is terrifying, so I really hope I can get a bit of progress in the next two months. I’m trying not to think too much about it, because I don’t want the thought of work to become some huge looming thing on the horizon that will give me extra stress.
So I won’t think about it right now! Not when there are so many other lovely things filling every corner of my life at the moment …
What would you like for Christmas?
* I really wish I were exaggerating but there’s not a word of a lie.
** Who am I kidding? It’s totally due to not being at work.
*** Mind you, the Captain is not a huge fan of lentils. But I am, so at least my own lunches can be 100% meat-free. Every little bit helps.
**** But if you are an intended recipient, don’t worry: it won’t be Crappy McNasty stuff, nor Trendy McHipster stuff, I hope it will still all be tasteful and nice. No mason jars will be harmed in the making of …
***** But really, how much of an option did I have? Although there isn’t a hope in heck that I would ever be eligible for disability, and I doubt anybody would have given me a medical certificate for such a long break, the truth is that I was genuinely 150% not coping before. Looking back, I’m amazed I managed for as long as I did. My days were a haze of pain and ‘forging through’, and my evenings and my days off were entirely occupied with trying to recover. I think my ability to compartmentalise the pain and confusion were not doing me any favours. I just didn’t look like I was suffering as much as I was!