Nov 122016
 

Physically I have got better. Cognitively I have got worse. This is not unexpected but very annoying. I am struggling to understand even simple things like my bank account and emails.

Because of this, Johan is now my Appointee when it comes to the DWP. This means he’s responsible for contacting them, filling in forms, and my money now goes into his account (which he then sends to mine because the bills come out of it, but when we’re able he’s going to be added to my account so he can manage it as well). We were worried that they’d say I didn’t need an appointee but instead they asked why it had taken so long. It was very hard for me to admit that I needed that help, and as soon as I’m consistently well enough to manage it Johan is going to hand control back to me.

Johan had his PIP renewal. We were a bit scared as it was only a 6 page “has anything changed” form and then we didn’t hear anything for weeks, but it’s been renewed again at the same rates so we don’t need to worry for now. My DLA to PIP transfer is in progress- we’ve now got the form that Johan needs to fill in. He says it’ll be easier than filling in his own, and he even managed the phone call to initiate it okay. We’re going for our usual tactic of sending tons of supporting evidence (mostly my care plans, where it says they’ll find me in bed both calls) and hope it goes smoothly.

As I’ve been doing better physically I have been out of bed a bit. I’ve been in the living room and to Newcastle (I went to the yarn shop! I bought yarn!). I saw Snow Dogs and they are awesome. I also went to the local park for the fireworks display and it was good, though people kept climbing over me while we were in the queue for food (we think they didn’t realise how long the chair was so thought there was a gap when there wasn’t). I wore my penguin onesie and was nice and warm. I’m definitely glad I managed to go, and hope to go next year. We’re planning on putting lights on my chair and skipping the food queues though ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a shower chair now so I’ve had two showers! Showers take a lot out of me and the chair isn’t quite supportive or padded enough but person from CFS team has suggested using towels to make it better and we’re going to try that. I am so glad that it’s here now though. The main thing stopping me using it is not being awake and well enough at the same time Johan is available to shower me.

Last week we finally got my new hoist slings with head support. I’ve tried them and they make it so much easier and mean my head no longer flops backwards and my neck doesn’t get sore! We’re not sure if one will fit in my normal going out changing bag, but if not I’ll just get a bigger one.

I saw mental health team. They can’t help me because I’m not at high enough risk. Blegh. I’m both glad that I’m not that ill mentally, and frustrated that they couldn’t help even with suggestions. Last night fireworks going off made me really out of it, but I was also able to describe what was going on to Johan (he was with me at the time). I think it’s the first time I’ve been able to do that, explain what’s going on in my brain while it’s happening, but I don’t know how to stop it and I was exhausted afterwards and slept all night then all day. That was not in the plan.

I went to the local hospital for a smear test and coil change. Was funny the first time I went as they didn’t know I’d be in a stretcher, most of the information they had was wrong, and they didn’t know where to put me. They figured it out though (they had a second waiting room that had a curtained off bit- they put me there with a guard nurse at the door) and the doctor took my smear. I went back a few weeks later for the smear to be repeated as the first one didn’t have enough cells, and this time the doctor changed my coil as well as he didn’t want me having to go back there again. The second time they had two rooms ready for me- one in case I could stay on the stretcher like the first time, and since I couldn’t (the ambulance guys needed it for other people) they kicked a doctor out of his office so I could go on the only bed in the department that lies flat. It wasn’t exactly fun, but the coil change went about as well as it could have and I was in less pain than the day before, so I appreciate that. My second smear came back normal so I don’t need to worry for 3 years now, and 5 years for the coil. I’ve been a bit crampy and moody since but hopefully that’ll calm down in the next few weeks.

I have a hospital appointment at the beginning of December about my dental surgery. It’s going to be at a further away hospital, which will be the furthest I’ve travelled in over 4 years. Hopefully it won’t take too much longer after that to have my broken teeth removed- one of them has had a temporary filling in for over a year.

I’ve been playing a lot of World of Warcraft since Legion came out. I’ve done all the current quest lines, got all three artifacts for my Priest, and am concentrating on levelling my Discipline one. I’m okay doing most World Quests, LFR and normal dungeons. I’m too scared to try heroic or mythic dungeons yet, though since I have a 853 item level I am geared enough. Part of the problem is that I don’t really know how to heal with the new Disc system- in LFR it doesn’t matter too much if I’m not sure what I’m doing as there are other healers, but in a dungeon I’m the only one. I’m considering learning Holy for it, but I think I need my brain to work better first. WoW is a lot of fun though, and I’m glad I’m able to spend a decent amount of time in it (mostly at night while Johan is asleep).

The biggest problem my cognitive issues is causing is I can’t initiate conversation now. I can know what I need to say and who I need to say it to, but without a prompt I just can’t do it, and I don’t know how to explain that. Replying to someone is easier but still really difficult, especially if I don’t know the person that well. I’m also muddling up or forgetting words and stuff much more these days, which if nothing else gives Johan something to laugh at (as he hears most of them). It’s so frustrating needing to do something but not actually being able to do it, even though I technically know how.

Johan is now very busy. He’s in Newcastle 3-4 times a week now, and he’s taken up running so does the 5k park runs most Saturday mornings, and goes to the gym when he can to do more running. If I’m asleep at the wrong times, I sometimes don’t see him for more than a few minutes while he sorts me out in between stuff and sleeping. Both the exercise and being out regularly is helping him a lot, and what he’s doing now might lead to a career in the future. I struggle quite a bit if I’m awake while he’s out, but it’s mostly feeling vulnerable- if something happens, I can’t do anything about it. It also means my pads leak more which isn’t fun. We’ve asked our social worker to change the call times so I’m not left alone for quite as long (the morning call moved to lunchtime so Johan can sort me out before he leaves then the carer can sort me out a few hours later) and also for the evening call to be made much later so I don’t need to cancel it whenever I’m able to go out. He’s put the request in but I don’t know how long it’ll take.

The agency finally stopped trying to send the bad carer in October. It took my social worker putting it in the contract not to send her before they’d stop. I’ve had several carers say they’d happily do those calls if asked, so it’s not that no-one wants to deal with me, but they kept insisting she was the only person available. I’ve still not heard anything about my official complaint (that I put in during July) so once everything else has calmed down we’ve got that to chase up. It’s the usual problems we’re having with the care agency now- most of the carers are lovely and do their best, but there’s a complete lack of organisation and communication, and I still don’t get rotas so get panicky every weekend as I don’t know who’s coming.

At some point I need to see my GP as my antiemetic has started causing tachycardia and palpitations, which stops me sleeping and is very uncomfortable. I can reduce my heart rate manually for a bit (by holding my breath and tensing my muscles- I discovered it myself years ago when I thought I was panicking but was actually having POTS attacks, and it turns out it’s an actual treatment) but it eventually goes back up and the palpitations stay. I’ve been on it for several years without problem so I’m really annoyed this has started now, as it was the third one I tried and I really like not vomiting. Hopefully we can fit it in around Johan being out all the time.

I’ve now written a blog post that’s too long for me to read. That’s probably a sign I should publish it. Hopefully there aren’t any massive mistakes in it.

 Posted by at 7:12 am
Aug 262016
 

It’s been a busy couple of months. I currently have an actual social worker, and he sorted out a care home (which went well) and is helping to try and sort out the care agency problems I’m having. They’re still sending that particular care worker that I can’t cope with, so I’m now panicking a lot and not having stuff I need doing done. My main care workers have complained, I put in an official complaint (which I’ve heard nothing about) and my social worker has complained, but they keep sending her. I’m not sure what to do as I’m spending all my energy on panicking instead of useful or fun stuff.

Johan went to Sweden and he had a very good time. I went into the care home I requested (as the previous one couldn’t take me due to renovation work) and though there were a few communication issues overall it went about as well as it could. I even managed two baths which was amazing! I managed to make a pair of slipper socks while in there, watched the ESA Marathon that Johan was in Sweden for, and went to a open day for the floor upstairs from where I was staying and stole two helium balloons. I also slept a lot and had to reassure the staff that was normal.

Since then I managed to go out for my sister’s birthday, which was the same day as our 6th wedding anniversary. We went for a meal in Newcastle which was nice. I had Chinese starters and a couple of desserts as I was too slow and full for a main ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the first family event I’ve managed to make in a long time so I’m really happy I was able to go out for it.

I bought a Haribo cake for our anniversary, which we started yesterday. It is rather yummy and doesn’t have icing on that Johan doesn’t like, but does have sweets on top. Haribo Starmix are Johan’s favourite sweets at the moment, so it works well for both of us. 

Since I got home from the care home I’ve seen my social worker again, and have got dates for changing my coil and seeing the community mental health team. For the CMHT I got a bit worried when they said it was in a clinic, as I wasn’t sure I could manage talking for an hour and a half at the same time as sitting up (both use energy and mine is limited). Luckily they phoned Johan and told us that it was going to be at home so I don’t need to worry about not fainting in my chair, just on being able to manage an assessment for 90 minutes. I’m hoping they have some ideas on how to cope with stuff that affects me but I have no control over, because panicking and having meltdowns (they’re different) are both extremely exhausting even when you don’t have a chronic illness. 

The best thing that’s happened this month is seeing Sammie today ๐Ÿ™‚ She came over to bring me presents from her holiday and chatting to her is amazing, as is being able to cuddle her in real life. I’m so proud of how she’s doing so well. Johan worries about her, especially when she stays up past her bedtime. It’s quite funny how he’ll keep reminding us what time it is. She’s still growing and is visibly taller than Johan now. I don’t think it’ll be too much longer before she’s taller than me.

I enjoyed watching the Olympics when it was on. I mostly saw some of the artistic gymnastics as I wasn’t well enough to watch all I wanted to see, and I was really impressed by Simone Biles and how she flies through the air. I’m looking forward to the Paralympics and hoping to watch a lot of that. Just need to have the energy to manage it.

When I get on my computer I’m mostly playing World of Warcraft. I’ve pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition of Legion, and if I’m going to be awake and well enough for launch I’ll get the digital version so I can play immediately, but if I’m not I’ll wait until the box arrives. I’ve been enjoying doing the prelaunch invasions and quests, and hopefully I’ll figure out how to DPS heal as a discipline priest before I get too far in. Johan has been levelling loads of characters through invasions and he’s not sure which one will be his main, or his first to level 110.

On my tablet I’m mostly playing Minesweeper. It’s slower and a bit harder than on PC as you don’t have separate buttons for flagging and uncovering, but I’ve managed to get under 200 seconds on expert which makes me happy. I’m still playing most of my other mobile games but only in bits and pieces. I’m also reading a lot of Reddit when I’m not feeling up to much, as it doesn’t matter if I lose track of what I’m doing. I hope to get back to reading books when things calm down. I’m still happy though, and have many plans that I’m working on ๐Ÿ™‚

 Posted by at 10:40 pm
Jul 092016
 

I somehow can’t quite believe that I’m now 30 years old. As my life basically went into standby 5 years ago, I don’t feel much older than I did then.

Had an up and down month. Body misbehaving. Another period (I think there were 2 weeks between them). Neighbours fighting at night. Care agency problems. Meltdowns. Hypersomnia. Talking to awesome people online. Watching lots of penguins. Finally watching Star Trek: Into Darkness (a present Becca got me yonks ago). Overall I’m doing okay, but I still wish I could be doing better.

My birthday was really awesome. The best present I got was Sammie coming over for a visit! That couple of hours talking to Sammie in person has kept me going through all the bad bits. She’s so amazing and I’m incredibly proud of her. She also gave me light up penguins and a holographic penguin card that I’ll have to put up somewhere more permanently. I also got a Fluttershy soft toy, a colour changing egg light, a massiveย Candy Chaosย box (that was from Johan- he knows how to make me happy) ย and so many really awesome cards and good wishes. It was really an amazing day and I feel so lucky to have so many people care about me.

Another thing I got really excited about was the Post Pals party. I never thought I could get so excited about a party I wasn’t going to ๐Ÿ˜› Post Pals is one of my favourite charities and it was awesome seeing all the planning and then the photos and videos of the Pals enjoying themselves. I’m not able to send letters or gifts very often (writing letters/emails and choosing gifts are often too much for me) but I am able to bug other people to do so.

Saw the district nurses. Told them my pads are leaking, but as I’m already on the highest absorbency they can prescribe they’re not sure what to do. The same day they came out I got a new delivery and it turns out the company has changed them to be even worse. I’m now buying my own more absorbent ones to use while Johan’s at his day service and at night in an attempt to not need to change the bedding every day.

Was meant to see the community mental health team about coping with meltdowns since I can’t use my normal coping mechanisms (movement/loud music) but they couldn’t find a psychologist to come out so they didn’t come. I’m not sure what’s going on there now.

Saw CFS team. Told them have been up and down and other stuff, including that I still don’t have the right hoist slings or a shower seat yet. They’re going to try and chase things again and I’m to keep doing what I’m doing until I start improving.

Have been watching loads of penguins. The chicks are getting so big now! There’s even been a couple of rockhopper intruders recently (kings are visible lots but I’ve only seen rockhoppers a couple of times).

I’ve started loom knitting. It’s like loom bands but with yarn ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve made a hat so far and I’m working on a matching scarf. The acrylic that came in the set I bought is quite scratchy, but I’ve read it’ll get softer in the wash so I’m hopeful that’s the case. I’m very slow at it and I have to take lots of breaks, but I’m so glad to have found a craft my hands don’t complain too much about.

I’ve also started on Duolingo. Concentrating mostly on French, but also learning German and Swedish for fun. Some of the phrases it gets me to say are interesting: two that are memorable are “Nous avons vingt enfants!” – We have 20 children in French, and “Ich bin eine banane” – I am a banana in German. Since “I am a banana” is one of the phrases I repeat when my brain is being silly and I’m trying to say something else. It’s almost as if it knew ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m doing okay at the reading and speaking, but my spelling (especially in German) and listening is terrible. The app can be a bit fussy on the speaking as well- I’ll say something three times the exact same way, but it’ll only accept it the last time. It’s fun and hopefully I’ll get back to being able to read in French and maybe know enough German and Swedish to be able to identify it.

There’s 11 days until Johan goes to Edinburgh, the day before going to Sweden. We don’t have a care home sorted yet as apparently my respite provision ran out in June and they didn’t tell us until after the date, despite us giving them plenty of notice. Johan is getting help from the day service so hopefully we’ll get it sorted soon. He’s definitely going though, so they need to sort something out as I can’t manage alone.

The care agency keeps sending a carer we’ve asked them not to send multiple times now. She hurts me when touching me and needs so much guidance for making food that the only thing I can have done is my teeth brushed, which is a waste of an hour call. One of my main carers has told the agency not to send her multiple times, and I had one of the supervisors come out and she also told them I didn’t want to have her, but she is still coming. It’s in my care plan that the carers will make phone calls on my behalf as I can’t do it. I also still don’t have a rota or my evening calls at the right time. I think we’re going to have to put in an official complaint as my wishes are being completely ignored and they’re making me more ill. Not sure how I’m going to do it but it’s not the first time they’ve done this.

Next week will be mostly sorting everything that needs to be sorted for Johan going to Sweden, and me resting lots so I’m able to get to whatever care home it ends up being. There’s also a church service I want to go to next week but that very much depends on my health. I managed to go vote in the EU referendum, but other than that I’ve not been out since May. (The leave result really scares me, as the EU has given us at least a small amount of protection against the Tory government. I think it’s only going to get worse from here but there’s nothing I can do about it so I’m trying not to worry.) Hopefully my body will calm down and I’ll be able to get out of bed and do more soon ๐Ÿ™‚

 Posted by at 10:23 pm

Life Is Better With Penguins

 Autism, Danni, M.E., Penguins!, Physical Disability, Real Life  Comments Off on Life Is Better With Penguins
Jun 032016
 

The following blog post may not make any sense.

For some reason the Edinburgh Zoo Penguin Cam doesn’t work directly with Chromecast, which meant I had to ask Johan to stream the tab when I wanted to watch and wasn’t well enough to go on my computer. I got a bit fed up with that, and decided that I wanted an Android TV stick so I could watch when I wanted. After some investigation, the Amazon Fire TV Stick seemed the best (especially as it was ยฃ5 cheaper than normal) so I bought that. I’ve added some of my own apps and it not only works for penguins, but I prefer the Twitch app as well (displays the chat on the telly) and I can sideload basically any Android app I want on there. I’m glad I bought it.

I’m just coming out of a bad patch. I was confused by it at the beginning, as I’d been doing okay and then I couldn’t get into the living room and couldn’t even have hugs as I was too ill. I was also experiencing more abdominal pain than is normal even for me. The explanation arrived on Tuesday- my period had arrived. I’m not sure how long it had been since my last one, but I didn’t cope with it very well. Luckily I seem to be nearly done with it, so I’m hoping to go back to how I was at the beginning of May again.

I’m slowly replacing some of the stuff I use daily and is becoming raggedy because of this. This week it’s been my penguin pet cushion (used to support my arm in bed and my head in my wheelchair). I’d forgotten how big and fluffy they are when new. I’ll be keeping the old one as a spare, as they’re the exact right size and shape for me (and folding them works great for supporting my head) but it’s nice to have a new clean one. The other advantage of having two is I can have one in the wash while using the other one.

Poseidon also demanded a new body as his feathers were scraggly. The super soft fluffy fleece most ofย my penguins and cushionsย are made of is great, but when they spend all their time in bed with me they’re less soft and fluffy after a while. Since I was ordering the Fire TV on Prime Now and they sold the exact baby emperor penguin body that Po has, he got lucky and I was able to get him one (penguin magic was involved). He’s now big and fluffy and is very happy.

I managed to fix my tablet! I don’t know why the camera wasn’t working in Marshmallow, but I did a factory reset and reinstalled everything and now it all works. I’m so happy as it means I can now use video chat again and take selfies when I want to.

I’m a bit scared now there’s just over 2 weeks until my 30th birthday. I’ve got no idea what I want to do for it, though if I’m well enough to go out that would be amazing. Johan keeps asking what I want for a present and I don’t know that either. My life is very different to what I thought it would be, but I’m hopeful my 30s will be better than my 20s. I hope I’ll stop being mistaken for a teenager then as well ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been reading the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane recently. I’m currently partway through A Wizard of Mars. I’ve got the New Millennium editions on ebook, which I’m glad about as in A Wizard Alone there’s an autistic character that was portrayed really badly in the original book, but in the new edition it’s actually really good and he chooses to remain autistic when given the option of changing himself. I’d read a couple of books in the series years ago in the library, but it’s really good to be able to read them all in order.ย Dairine is probably my favourite character, and displays many autistic traits herself (though these aren’t identified as such in the series). The world has been a great one to escape into and I’m trying not to go too quickly as I think I’m going to be annoyed when I run out of books.

Feeling really bleh and drained now, so I think more rest is needed. Until I’m doing better, I think it’s time for more penguins. Penguins make everything better.

 Posted by at 5:10 am
May 112016
 

I’m currently watching the Edinburgh Zoo Penguin Camย and there’s a baby Gentoo chick that’s been born. It’s so adorable, though we don’t get to see it much as the parents keep it hidden under their bellies. I also watched Penguin A+E last night and that was amazing. I love that they were taking such good care of the African penguins and they made the one that was starving big and fat again ๐Ÿ˜€

I think I’m not doing too bad at the moment. I’ve been in my chair more, going to Nando’s one night and last Thursday going out to vote then to the local shop. I’m going into the living room more frequently, and it’s almost tidy enough so I’ll be able to lie on the mattress in there (the daybed still needs to be built). I love being in the same room as Johan, so we can talk while doing our own things (him on his computer, me on my tablet). I think the weather calming down (and being nicer) has helped, as when it changes all my symptoms get worse, so when it was being really erratic I was in a lot of pain and very grumpy. I hope the nice weather stays for a bit, as I’m enjoying not being too bad for me.

Sleep has been all over the place. Sometimes getting very little, sometimes like yesterday sleeping for nearly 16 hours. This means I’m not able to plan anything, as I don’t know if I’ll be awake. That nearly 16 hour period of sleeping I did manage about 11 hours of actual sleep, which is a big improvement over the 5-6 hours I normally manage most times. I think I needed it.

My nausea levels have been a bit more bearable, which means I’ve been taking less cyclizine. I hate taking cyclizine as it makes me dopey and out of it, but I hate vomiting more, so as my nausea had been so bad the last few months I was taking it regularly. A downside we’ve found to not taking it is my appetite is back down to very little, so I’m not feeling hungry as much and when I do it doesn’t take long until I’m full. I definitely think it’s the reason I’m no longer underweight (one of the side effects for me is increased appetite, beyond that of just being less nauseous) so we’ll have to keep an eye on things. I’m not taking it unless I need it for nausea as I like knowing what’s going on and the brain fog is bad enough without it, but if it becomes an issue I’ll speak to my GP about it.

I’ve been working on my loom band stuff again recently, though many of them haven’t worked (I was making a bag and it fell apart as I was trying to repair a mistake). I have managed a purple penguin headband though, which I’m happy with. I’m hoping to look into loom knitting when I get some yarn as it’s very similar, but when looking for yarn I got completely overwhelmed so haven’t managed to get any yet. All I know is that chunky yarn is best for loom knitting a scarf, which is the first thing I want to try and make. I have got the attachments needed to make some loom band lanyards, so I’ll be trying that next I think. First though I need to sort out one of my boxes, as Johan managed to knock it over and mix all the bands up. The good thing is I really enjoy sorting so it’s been quite nice working on getting them organised. Still got some way to go, but I think they may be more sorted than they were originally once I’m done (one of the sections was glitter jelly bands and another neon bands, all in different colours, so I’ll be separating the colours out). I’m also partially through making a wallet, which will be awesome if I manage to finish it without it breaking before I’m done.

Last night I also watched the Eurovision Song Contest first semi final. I missed the first song as that’s when I was waking up, but Johan said I didn’t miss much. I liked all the sparklies, shinies and purple suits (so many awesome purple suits!) and Russia’s special effects in particular were amazing. I can’t remember what songs I liked, but I think at least one of them got through to the final (I really should have made notes). If I’m awake I’m wanting to watch the next semi final and then the final on Saturday, but just in case I’ve set them to record as I do like everything about it. I’ve been following someone on Twitter (@Scattermoon) who has been tweeting their journey to Stockholm to see Eurovision and it was amazing- I could imagine I was travelling with them. One day I’d love to travel across Europe by coach and train like they did ๐Ÿ˜€

It is ME awareness month/week/day this month (I think we’re currently in the week, and the day is tomorrow? I’m not sure). I’m not sure I’m up to posting anything in particular for it, but if I see anything particularly good then I’ll try and share it. ME is a horrible illness and some doctor’s still don’t believe it exists, or think it’s a form of somatoform disorder, when there’s now plenty of evidence that’s it’s a physical disease. There’s definitely a psychological component, especially since adrenaline can make symptoms worse, but that’s the case with most chronic illnesses. I’m lucky that mine seems to have stabilised now, but some people continue to get worse and can’t do the things I can.

The care agency seems to be improving a bit. The care worker who yelled at me and the manager(?) who came into my bedroom without permission or even telling me both no longer work for the agency. I’ve been told that only one manager (who knows me as she’s done my care calls before) is allowed to come to our flat for agency stuff, and she knows to phone Johan before coming. We also have an agreement I’m not going to have spot checks and that the key safe is only to be used for actual care calls. I have two main care workers now who do all my weekday calls and my Saturday morning call, but the other three (Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday evening) are still random and I still don’t have ย rota to tell me who it’s going to be. Last Saturday evening one of my normal care workers did the evening call, and though she had to come early for it that was okay as I knew in advance and I preferred that to having someone I don’t know very well. The care worker on Sunday morning is a mystery, as I was asleep and they didn’t write in the book (and also arrived at 9.15am for a 10am call) but the evening care worker was someone I’d had once before who I get on with well and just seems to get things without needing everything explaining in detail. It was also the first evening call in months that was actually at the right time (5.30pm instead of 5pm). That makes such a difference as it means I use a lot less energy trying to explain things and dealing with everything. I think things with the care agency calming down is partially why I’m able to get into my chair and go out more. All I need now is a rota, the evening calls to happen at the right time and for them to contact us about changes and I might be able to stop worrying about it.

I managed to play a bit of the Overwatch beta last week, playing as Mercy (a healer). I’m not very good, but it’s the first FPS I’ve actually enjoyed playing, which is awesome. If I continue to get on the computer regularly then I think I’ll be playing it quite a bit. Johan didn’t enjoy it quite as much, so probably won’t be buying it (I’ve already preordered it as I knew from the initial announcement I’d probably like it, and watching people play it confirmed that for me) but that’s okay as I’m sure I’ll be able to find people to play with. At the moment I’m only playing against the AI but at some point I’ll be brave enough to play against real people.

This morning I played a bit of World of Warcraft, working on the legendary ring for Danni. I’d got to the part where you need to get documents and eavesdrop on the Horde with Garona, which is known as probably the hardest part of the whole quest chain. I’d already tried (and failed) to complete it for over an hour previously, but this morning I managed it in about 20 minutes, though I ended up cheating and using my flying mount to bypass everyone. After I’d managed that I did all of Hellfire Citadel in LFR, getting 9 tomes this week. Since I need 33, that’s not too bad and if I can get on the computer every week, I should be able to complete the ring before Legion comes out in August. I’m looking forward to the film coming out, and I want to go and see it in the cinema but that might be a little bit optimistic (though I’d take earplugs and things to make it less overwhelming). If I can’t I guess I’ll have to wait until it’s available to download and then I’ll watch it. I’ve got the prequel book to read so I’m hoping to finish that before the film comes out.

I’m happy I’m able to do more. I’m not massively improved physically, but those small amounts of improvements where I’m less nauseous, more able to be semi-upright and able to tolerate a bit more light and sound make a massive difference in how much I’m able to do. I still have to be careful, as last week I made myself really ill by wiping my own leg with a baby wipe (I was doing okay, then I wiped myself and ended up really nauseous, dizzy and shaking). I’m not sure why such a small thing triggered such a large reaction as I normally get a bit more warning than that, but it was a reminder that I do need to be careful if I want to keep doing the stuff I enjoy. Hopefully I’ll keep managing a little bit more as time goes on so I’ll be able to do some of the bigger things, like go to the cinema or travelling to Leeds. Until then, I’ll follow other people’s journeys and imagine taking them myself ๐Ÿ™‚

 Posted by at 1:25 pm
May 022016
 

This is a post for Blogging Against Disablism Day 2016. Please visit the website to see the other posts. It’s a day late as it’s my second attempt at a post (thanks brain fog).

These are things I want to see. It is not exhaustive.

I want to see more people like me in fiction, as normal characters. Disabled, different, maybe chronically ill, but that being only part of what the character is about.

I want to see more progress in making things accessible for more disabled people. More ramps, lifts, alternative formats for information. More changing places toilets (toilets with a hoist, adult changing bench, plenty of room for a wheelchair and carers and other facilities for severely disabled people). Less blocking access, displays making it impossible to pass in a wheelchair, less unnecessary noise and strobe lights.

I want to see disabled people accepted for who they are. Not used as inspiration porn or pitied. Disability is a normal part of life so should be treated as such.

I want less overt and covert discrimination against disabled people. Less refusal to make reasonable adjustments. Less making disabled people jump through hoops non-disabled people don’t have to do.

I want to see more access information provided on websites, and the websites themselves to be accessible. I want that information to be easy to find, not requiring looking through layers of menus to discover.

I want people to see disability equipment to be seen for what they are, tools that enable people to do what they want easier (or at all). Wheelchairs and scooters are awesome and allow so many people to do more than they otherwise could.

I want people to be valued for who they are, not what they’re able to do. We all deserve a full, peaceful, dignified life, making our own choices as much as able.

I want variable disabilities to be understood better. Just because someone can do something at one time, that doesn’t mean they can do it the next time, or in different circumstances, or more than once.

I want the harassment of disabled people to end, especially by governments and the media. I want benefits to be easier and quicker to claim, without the presumption that we’re all frauds. We’re not to blame for the financial crisis.

I want to see disabled people living where they want, with the help they need to do so. I want to see hospitals only used when absolutely required and for the shortest period that’s needed. I want carers to receive the help they need to care for their loved ones if they want to.

I want people to be seen as individuals. We all have our own life experiences, likes, dislikes and thoughts. We’re not just a collection of diagnoses.

I want to see a nicer, more equal world. I believe it’s possible.

 Posted by at 1:20 am
Apr 232016
 

The problem with sleeping a lot and randomly is that time somehow disappears so one day it’s February and then suddenly it’s the middle of April.

I’ve been very up and down the last few weeks. Still got issues with the care agency. ESA form is in so I’m waiting to hear if I’m still in the support group, and if so for how long. Some time spent on my computer but nowhere near as much as I’d like, and not at all for about two weeks until this week. I’ve not been in my chair much either, though did go into the living room for a bit and outside for 5 minutes to try and spot the International Space Station (and failed due to clouds) at the beginning of the month. I’m hoping to be able to go properly out again soon. Esther has moved out, as our flat was just too small for the three of us, especially with my health being affected by everything (she was a great flatmate, and her new place is better for work so I’m hoping it goes well for her).

Easter was good. Eggs and bunnies were bought and eaten. I managed to watch the church service on the telly which was awesome as I miss going to church. I’ve looked into inclusive church services that happen at a time that I can actually get to them (there’s no chance of me getting anywhere for 10am, especially on a Sunday) and I’ve found one that looks really promising, so when I have the spoons I’m hoping to email them about the stuff I need to know (how accessible is it, whether there’s a set routine or service I can learn and follow, how noisy it gets). Emails are hard even when I know what I want to say.

April is also autism awareness/acceptance month. I’ve done pretty much nothing for it, other than speak to my GP for help with my anxiety and ways of coping before I end up in meltdown (unfortunately happening all too regularly due to care agency stuff, like being yelled at by a care worker, or someone I don’t know letting themselves into our flat and into my bedroom with no notice, name or ID- the first I knew of it was when I rolled over and she was there, as I had earplugs in). I think this was the first time I’d told a doctor about my meltdowns, as when they happened once a year it wasn’t that important for them to know. It’s also in my care plan now, along with what to do (leave me alone and if Johan is in, get him- it might be scary seeing me hit or bite myself but I’m not likely to hurt myself too badly and the worst thing you can do is talk to me or try and touch me). Unfortunately most of my coping/prevention methods involve things I can’t do due to being so ill with ME, so I’m not sure what to do, especially when our ways of trying to prevent them (like telling the care agency not to use the key safe except for care calls, and to contact us in advance before turning up) are being ignored.

My GP was awesome as always. She seemed to understand that a meltdown is different from a panic attack (though I still get plenty of them, normally at night when the neighbours are arguing). She’s not got many ideas yet, but she’s going to see if there’s someone who understands autism who may be able to help me come up with some coping strategies. I don’t get why I’m so nervous about seeing her when she’s always so nice and tries to help, even though I’m not the easiest person in the world to deal with (yay neurological illness with no currently known effective treatment and communication difficulties due to autism!). She even sorted out an antihistamine prescription for Johan even though it was my appointment.

I’m still getting used to the side effects of cetirizine I’m taking for hay fever (even though there are no leaves on my tree yet there’s definitely pollen around). Mostly extra drowsiness and dopiness, though it might also be why I’m getting worse headaches than normal. Luckily it’s nothing that I can’t cope with and it’s worth it so my eyes aren’t as sore and itchy.

I got selected from the waitlist to buy Here Active Listening ear buds. They work well for what I want them for (turn down certain noises while still being able to hear what I want, such as turning down background noise while still being able to hear speech) but only when I can actually get them working with my tablet. Unfortunately the left one doesn’t seem to like turning on every time and I’ve had difficulties getting it to connect to my bluetooth, but I’m hoping that it’s just teething issues and they’ll work better soon.

I’ve also recently updated my tablet to Android Marshmallow from Lollipop. While doing so I took the time to encrypt it, so it’s now more secure (though I’ve also turned on smart lock so when I’m at home with it then it’ll automatically stay unlocked, as typing in the password every time would be too much for me). The only bug I’ve found is that the IR Blaster doesn’t seem to be working, which means I can no longer control my telly from my tablet. When I’m not able to press the buttons on the remote myself I’m needing Johan to do it for me. Hopefully that’ll be fixed soon, or I’ll have to look into a touchscreen remote control.

I’m getting excited for Overwatch coming out next month. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get on my computer to play it, as I preordered it. I’m probably going to be terrible but it looks fun anyhow. Today I managed to get my Diablo Wizard to level 70, which only took a couple of years. Hopefully I won’t take as long with my next character ๐Ÿ˜›

I’ve been enjoying watching the Penguin Cam at Edinburgh Zoo, which shows the gentoo penguins and their stone nests. Watching the penguins mate has been interesting, especially as they keep being interrupted by other penguins wanting to steal their stones while they’re doing so. There are quite a few eggs now and hopefully in the next month or so there will be some chicks. Until then there’s lots of stone stealing from nests, and occasionally the king penguins invade, especially at feeding time.

 Posted by at 12:54 pm
Feb 282016
 

Good news everyone! I think I’m over the relapse! On Wednesday I went out (into Gateshead for Burger King and shopping in Tesco because it was evening and there wasn’t much else open) and it was fun. I’ve also been able to go on my computer a bit more, which is making me very happy (not least because Smartflix is awesome and has tons of shows that I can’t stream on Netflix using my Chromecast without lots of config I’m not well enough to sort). I’m not that much better than I was, but the small amount I am is the difference between lying in a darkened room and being able to go on my computer and go out. Tiny things like being able to tolerate a bit more light, noise, movement and touch, and not needing to be completely flat. I’m so happy to be able to do stuff, as that relapse lasted a bit longer than mine usually do so I was scared it was becoming my new normal. The only issue now is I seem to be mostly nocturnal, which makes communicating with people and doing things hard ๐Ÿ˜›

One thing I have been doing is playing games. The rest of this post will be about them so it’s likely to be of no interest to anyone but me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve introduced Sammie to World of Warcraft (I’m sure it won’t be long until she’s better than I am) and recruit a friend makes levelling fast. I’ve not played as much with her as I’d have liked but hopefully we’ll get more time now I’m doing better. When I’ve been on when Sammie’s not I’ve been doing a bit of work on the legendary ring quest chain. I got my third elemental tablet thing so my ring is now item level 715. The next step is to get Blackhand’s arm which is kinda disgusting but at least it’s not going through poop. I’m hoping to work on getting Pepe soon and pet battles.

On my tablet I’ve been trying new games, and playing old ones. In DragonVale I currently have 248 of 269 total dragons, and of those currently available I need about 6. There’s a few more than I can get with help through the co-op breeding cave but the earliest I can complete the collection is during Bring it Back in December. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made though ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been playing a lot of Neko Atsume and recently got every single memento in the game. I already had every goodie so now I’m slowly working towards getting every theme and hoping they release new content. The cats are so adorable though so I’m really happy to play it.

In High School Story I’ve managed to complete all the current story lines, which I wasn’t expecting to do yet. I’ve got 15 classmate rares still to get (I’ve got the common gender of each type already), but I’m in no rush. I’m current working on getting a female hacker. I was frustrated that some of the goals seemed nearly impossible but they have been a bit easier recently so I’m happy there.

Hollywood U has been a bit more frustrating on the goal front, not least because they often don’t show up when they’re meant to so I end up getting less time (I missed nearly a day for this week’s). I’ve completed all the quests so I’m just working on the goals and getting both Critics, as they’re the new type and I’ve not managed to get either yet. It’s only been a few days though.

I’m still playing Kim Kardashian Hollywood, though I’ve come close to quitting a few times. The issues I was having seem to have been fixed, and though it’s still buggy it’s playable now. I’m level 39, number 1 on the A+++ list, and have mostly completed the quests, other than the most recently released ones. I try not to worry about the weekend events, so unless there’s something I really want as a prize I just do them as and when. During the week I also work on levelling the VIPs through Hangouts and jobs, though I’ve only ever got the special reward once. At least it doesn’t require much concentration.

A new game I’ve been playing recently after being invited by a friend is Happy Street. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing, but it’s cute (if a bit obsessed with poop) and I seem to always have something to do so I’m keeping it for now.

I’m also trying Britney Spear’s American Idol at the moment. It’s not officially available outside of New Zealand, which explains why none of my friends are playing it. The game is pretty fun but very laggy so there needs to be some work before it’s released more generally. It’s a pop version of the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game, but more purple. My character is called Adรฉlie Gentoo and all my songs are about penguins ๐Ÿ™‚

One game I tried and then gave up on with Kendall and Kylie. That game is so slow I can read a chapter of a book in the time it takes to load (anything from 3 1/2 to 7 minutes). For a mobile game it’s terrible. Not only that, but since update 1.1.0 the game doesn’t seem to save correctly, so any progress is lost. More recent updates don’t seem to have fixed it. Luckily I’d already reached level 8 for the crossover stuff in Kim Kardashian Hollywood, but until they do some major work I won’t be playing any more of it. It’s a shame as I quite enjoyed the storyline.

Other games I’ve got installed on my tablet right now are AdVenture Capitalist, 80 Days, The Room 3 and a couple of different Sudoku games. I’m currently waiting for AdVenture Capitalist to be completable sometime this millennia (no joke), 80 Days I got annoyed with as I missed a couple of connections due to brain fog so I’m taking a short break before trying it again, and the Room 3 I’m playing in bits as it requires quite a bit of cognitive energy. The sudoku games are fun for me and a way of judging how I’m doing mentally- the logic required is normally very easy for me, so if I’m struggling to complete an expert puzzle or easy killer sudoku I know I’m not doing great. If I can’t solve one of the easier ones then I know I need to rest.

The last game I have is Hearthstone. For a while it was unplayable on my tablet, but I reset it while installing a newer version of my rom and it’s running better now. I’m mostly playing the Tavern Brawls when I get the chance, as I don’t know the current meta game well enough to work on ranked. Hopefully now I’m getting on my computer a bit more I’ll be able to play some Heroes of the Storm and other games, but with having to do adult stuff like paying bills, sorting money and food shopping when I’m on here as well I’ll have to wait and see if I can manage it more frequently.

 Posted by at 8:28 am

Stickman Communications: When Brain Fog Clouds My Words

 Autism, Danni, Important Stuff, M.E., Physical Disability, Real Life  Comments Off on Stickman Communications: When Brain Fog Clouds My Words
Feb 052016
 

I’ve been wanting to blog about the communication issues I’m having, but not been able to. Luckily* I’m not the only one who has these problems, so I can just link to Hannah’s blog post about it instead. This describes what I experience pretty well.

http://stickmancommunications.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/when-brain-fog-clouds-my-words.html

*I wish no-one had to experience this stuff, but I do feel a bit better knowing I’m not the only one.

 Posted by at 11:12 pm
Jan 272016
 

A quick blog post as I want to blog at least monthly, but this month I’ve not been well even for me. January relapses are normal but this one is lasting longer than I’m used to.

I have a cold. I’ve had it now for several weeks, might now be months. I’m sleeping a lot, though my FitBit is telling me that I’m getting a lot less sleep than I realised (will sleep for a 13 hour period but only actually get 8 hours of sleep in that time, as I’m waking up so much due to pain/not being able to breathe/nightmares). I’m very lucky if I manage mood than an hour of uninterrupted sleep a day. I don’t even remember what a sleeping pattern is.

I’ve managed to go on my computer twice, which is less than normal for me. There are some things I can only do on my computer so I’m frustrated but pushing myself results in being worse. I spent 15 minutes in my chair at the beginning of the month to have my sheet changed but haven’t been well enough to go back in it. That small amount of extra dizziness, pain and exhaustion makes such a difference in what I can do. Anxiety because the care agency still isn’t doing what I need them to doesn’t help.

Good news is Johan almost has a passport. He went for the interview on his birthday and it went well so he’s just waiting for it to arrive. It’s awesome seeing him so excited. He’s planning on going to Sweden in the summer to play games very fast and see friends who also like playing games very fast. When my body has been behaving enough I’ve been eating the goodies we were given for Christmas. Gingerbread penguins and posh fudge are very nice, and not too bad when they reappear multiple times ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve also had McDonalds which I caused me less pain than most other foods, because my body is weird (only the lettuce caused issues).

I’ve got so many plans for when I next go on puter and go out. Taking my Deed Poll to the bank to get my name changed, and sending it to the people we’ve not managed to contact yet. Playing World of Warcraft. Talking to Sammie (I miss her the most when too ill to talk). Going for a meal with Johan for his birthday (he went out by himself but it’s not the same). Hopefully writing letters/emails, though they take more cognitive energy than I’ve had for a while. Having proper cuddles. I’m hoping this cold will be over soon, or at least I’ll have another slightly better day so I can manage something. I’m sure it’ll happen ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been so grateful for my friends the last few weeks. Sending me penguins (especially for Penguin Awareness Day). Giving me (online) Squishes. Being understanding when I disappear from Twitter and Facebook for a bit. My cousin Elka linked me a penguin shirt that had a picture of a penguin made up of lots of little penguins, and I bought that and it arrived yesterday. I can’t wait to be well enough to get changed into it. It’s purple and long sleeved and awesome.

This ended up longer than I expected. Brain dumps are definitely the easiest form of communication. Time to go back to sleep and hopefully stay asleep this time. I can hope ๐Ÿ™‚

 Posted by at 8:44 am