Tired, Tired, Tired

Why do we like to write things in threes? I don’t understand.

But I am more than just tired. At the moment I don’t seem to be able to get enough sleep. No matter how much I think I am going to bed early enough and getting the sleep I need I just seem tired and weak all the time.

I know it’s all my doing. I know I am having to work too hard, but needs must at the moment. However, this was first time I had some evidence that maybe it’s doing me some damage.

My diet has been worse than usual of late. I have a very poor relationship with food anyway… nothing really gets me excited or interested. I sometimes don’t bother with the final meal of the day, and even when I do it can be utter rubbish: pure stodge and carbohydrates.

I give blood on a regular basis. It didn’t happen last time due to catching a cold the day before… but on Monday the circus/bloodmobile rolled back into town again and I was fighting fit.

Or so I thought. Turns out that I was only just on the right side of the iron threshold. For the first time ever (I’ve now given blood 26 times) I was nearly rejected because of not having enough iron in my bloodstream.

It made me worry a bit about my diet. Properly this time. I just don’t look after myself. I don’t have the time to cook nice meals from scratch. But even if I did have time, I don’t find cooking interesting in any way. I find it a real chore to have to plan something like that out in advance, ensuring the ingredients are in the cupboards. It’s just not going to happen when my life is as crazy at is. When I finish work most days at 7pm or sometimes worse, I am going to suffer somewhere.

But I’ve always said I’d never let myself suffer from serious sleep deprivation. It seems to be the way of the world these days for people to stay up until midnight and still be up 6-7am for work the next day. Whereas I generally enjoy making sure I get a good 8 hours…

And yet I still feel tired.

I feel tired writing this. This despite the fact that I had enough sleep last night, and still had more sleep on the train as I travelled home (yet again). I am not carrying a massive sleep deficit. I am just exhausted. I must be.

It could all change soon. Today one of my businesses agreed to take on someone to help with our admin burden. The other business is also going to have someone in to help out. I don’t know how it will work out, but if it helps me to finish work and go home at 6 instead of 7 I will think it’s worth it.

But I think I’d still get up at 5am. Still the best time of the day.

The Banks Are On Holiday

It’s Bank Holiday Monday, and I’m here again. Why, it feels like it must be 2005, posting every few days…

And the good news is that, in exactly two weeks time, it will also be a Bank Holiday. Hurrah.

It has been a “busy” weekend. And by busy I mean I have spent most of my time working. I spent virtually all of my Easter Sunday doing some monumentally tedious work on my company’s “Quality Management System”. This is a remarkably dull piece of documentation that waffles and repeats itself many times, all of the sake of showing that we are, apparently, worthy of doing the work we are doing.

This wasn’t the plan when I discussed Easter Sunday in my post on Saturday. But when I looked at the forecast, it made more sense to have an afternoon off on Saturday, while there was some actual sunshine, and then get stuck indoors all of Sunday instead, while it rained. It worked perfectly.

The consequence is that, today, I genuinely have nothing to do. Nothing pressing, work wise, anyway. I could do odd chores instead. I could clean the bathroom. I could mop the kitchen floor. I could play my guitar a lot – which I have brought home from the office for this very reason.

But maybe I will actually do none of those. There’s a bit of sunshine outside at the moment as I gaze out the window. It looks good. It makes me want to go outside… for a little bit. It makes me want to just spend a little time away from my “desk”. Then maybe watch DVDs all day.

Then I look around at my desk here at home, and am disgusted at its mess. It could really really do with being taken off, cleaned, and then only the important things put back. That sounds like a good plan. Maybe after the walk?

Yesterday, I was invited in for Easter Sunday breakfast with my neighbour. That was nice. We had muesli, boiled eggs (with soldiers) and then an extra piece of toast. With honey. And I had already had a bowl of Weetabix at home. Well, the cheap Weetabix. That was basically my Easter. It’s a far cry from my family Easters that I was used to over the years…

I did the phone call home. It was spent, as usual, listening to my mum talking, as she does. I don’t mind… (too much)… but it also made me a bit depressed. We don’t speak on the phone that often any more. It used to be a regular thing, at least once a week. Now it might be only once every fortnight, or longer. And when we were speaking, my mum was telling me about the terrible nerve pains she’s been having for over a month now. The doctors don’t seem to be helping. The physio hasn’t worked.

It’s worrying. It all reminds me of the days, weeks, months and years that are passing in the blink of an eye. Health doesn’t last forever.

Wow. Now I do need a walk to clear my head.

Weakness And Surgery

This past week, I did something I would never have ordinarily done, but life doesn’t always go to plan.

On Monday night, my brother was complaining of pains in his abdomen. Thinking nothing of it, I went to bed… earlier than normal as I had an early start on the Tuesday morning. But during the night, I woke up two or three times to the sounds of complaints and things happening in the house. From what I could ascertain, it sounded like my brother was being taken to hospital.

I didn’t want to get up because I was desperately tired, and needed sleep critically. Tuesday was to be another of my whirlwind PC repair days, where I have a full day booking for a company which involves a couple of hours travel before and after. In any event, it was all under control, and I wouldn’t be able to help.

I did manage to go back to sleep, but woke up at least two more times, because my brain conspires against me all the time. In the end I got up at 5am, because I needed to get going.

Within about 15 minutes my dad came back on his own, with the news that he’d left my brother at the hospital as they wanted to admit him for an emergency appendectomy. Slightly shocked, I still thought there’s just nothing I can do, though. I should just go to work and ask them to keep me up to date.

I felt fine, but it wasn’t to last. Sitting on a train at 7:30am, I suddenly started to feel incredibly ill. My vision went blurred, and started flashing. I felt tired and extremely warm. I had to undo my jacket and a layer underneath, but it was no good. Next thing I knew the person sitting next to me was tapping me giving me my phone back, which I’d just dropped on the floor. Now, I didn’t drop the phone deliberately, so something made me black out. It must have just been for a couple of seconds, long enough for me drop it…

He then asked if I was OK, but I wasn’t. I said I wasn’t and then proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes holding my head and feeling really sick. I didn’t want to vomit – it was more of a “cannot possibly stay conscious” feeling. But I knew I had to, because going unconscious in public, in a fairly hostile situation (commuters aren’t the most sympathetic of characters) wasn’t an option.

By some miracle I made it to my destination. I recovered slightly, but most of all was so worried about the fact that I couldn’t understand what was going on with me. I am usually healthy all of the time. I rely on being fit on more than average number of days compared to most people to live my reasonably hectic work life. But all of a sudden I was dangerously exposed.

Once I arrived at work I told them what had happened and said I might not last very long. Bravely I tried to work for an hour, but it was no use, and I was soon making my way home. It was horrible and painful, but I did it. Fortunately.

Meanwhile, my poor brother had to undergo his surgery, but, I’m pleased to say, is making a steady recovery. It was a real worry too – and he seems to have had far worse luck than me in life so far on the health front. I went to visit him after the surgery and he looked awful. He is back to his normal self now, but will have to take it easy.

The strain all this put on the family is shocking. Already struggling to cope with what’s going on with my grandparents, my mum could do without any of us being ill as well. I really ought to get myself properly checked out, but last week all I wanted to do was just vegetate. I cancelled my plans, at great loss of income to me, and spent the last five days doing very, very little at all.

I went back to work today, and managed it OK. I still feel very run down, and desperately worried about what’s going to happen. I’ve also now gained a bizarre sense of apprehension: what if it happens again? I’m planning to make the same journey again tomorrow. But now I have to worry that something could go wrong with me – an issue I have never, ever had to consider.

I have always taken my health for granted. I suppose those of us who are healthy do that. But I really do need to try harder on this front. For instance, the week before last I missed evening meal two nights in a row. That can’t be good for me, not considering the amount of energy I need, and the bottomless pit of a stomach I seem to have. Maybe I am the architect of my own downfall…

But as my impromptu “holiday” draws to a close, I am once again filled with depression and foreboding. I don’t want to go back to my work down South, but I have no choice. It is my life now. I should just live with it and try to make it enjoyable.

Just got to get tomorrow out the way first.

Family Decline

Since Christmas, there has been nothing but a relentless string of bad news regarding my grandparents. We’ve all done our best to cope with the situation, but it’s suddenly degenerated into a serious problem in the space of a couple of weeks.

What is clear is that, for years now, my nan has been keeping the situation hidden from us. She must have been struggling for such a long time to keep up appearances that she could look after my grandad and make sure we don’t have to worry about it. She clearly felt it was her duty to do so, being that it was her husband. She couldn’t bring the burden to the wider family.

We all knew things were getting bad. 2011 was difficult on that score. But all of a sudden she just cannot care for him any more. She’s developed a serious problem with her leg, and her arthritis is now excruciating. As such, my grandad has been put in some respite care to give her time to recover, but it’s abundantly clear that even if she does, there will be no possibility of her ever looking after her husband again. He is just too difficult to control.

So this is causing incredible tension in the family. My poor mum, already under stress with her own job, and the difficulty of still having two demanding teenaged children and my 22 year old brother, who is not much help either, all living at home, is now having to deal with this as well. We had a very long conversation on the phone last night, and she agrees, my grandad just cannot return home again.

It is depressing and terrible. I am, in some ways, lucky that I am not at home, and therefore not having to see the daily consequences of this. At the time this makes me feel a bit guilty. Out of sight, out of mind. But, in truth, there’s probably nothing I can do to help except support my mum. My mum, at least, has two brothers and a sister who are useful, and they are all pitching in to some extent to try to give care. But it’s not easy, and requires incredible co-ordination, which means endless phone calls and other delays. And it’s not as if my mum can ever have a quick phone call anyway. That’s starting to get my youngest brother and sister annoyed, because they’re feeling left out of the attention.

It’s just not a good start to the year at all. No one really knows what the next step is, but I know for sure things will never be the same again. And no one’s even thought about how much this could all end up costing. Isn’t society wonderful?

A Fatty Record

On Friday, me and my brother went on an excursion into town to avail ourselves of the opportunity to buy Christmas presents.  This chance was a very, very rare window that would unlock the possibility of achieving something I’d been hoping to do for a very long time.

Eating alone in a restaurant or other food joint is never an enthusing prospect. It smacks of desperation and loneliness. With that prejudice in mind, I will never go into a place where you need to sit down to eat on my own. It is a communal activity, done not only for stomach-filling, but for social benefits. 

So, with my brother finishing school at midday, I sensed that it was going to be a very good day indeed. 

The key part of this equation is that when it comes to food my brother is as gluttonous as I am. Neither of us are fat, but we’re both fairly active individuals and apparently blessed with a fast metabolism. This generally means that we’re hungry dudes. Our eating capacity is almost unrivalled, as is the speed at which we can demolish most meals. One, two, three, gone. 

These factors all combined to produce a trip to Pizza Hut. But not just any old trip – a trip during the day to sample the delights of the all you can eat buffet lunch. Pizza only – a snip at just £5 per person.

And, by Jove, we were going to get our money’s worth. 

The great thing about it is that, for my brother, he’d actually never been to the Pizza Hut buffet lunch. So he was particularly impressed that it really was all you can eat. He wondered how they still make money on it, which had me delving deep into the businessy section of my brain to talk a lot about high volume negating the effects of low value, and the fact that producing the same five or six pizzas constantly would be much better value than people continuously asking for different things on an a la carte basis. 

Inbetween this cerebral analysis, we did stuff our faces, remembering not to talk with our mouths open. It was busy, and I expected that with it being so close to Christmas, but there was enough to go round.

More than enough, in fact. I think I went up to the buffet on at least six occasions, each time returning with more saturated fats than was found in Elvis Presley’s arteries at the time of his death. But I wasn’t going to be stopped. Or outdone. My brother’s appetite was certainly keeping up with mine… and he was eating the meaty pizzas too! (Me being a vegetarian, that wasn’t an option)

In total, I downed a personal best of 13 slices. Of course, it is hard to be certain if I actually did eat more than my previous record of 12 slices, because the slices vary in size. And, of course, there is less to an Italian stonebaked base pizza than there is to a deep pan version. But, I think the varying slices generally balance out – and after slice 13 I couldn’t take any more.

My brother gave up at about 11 – impressive considering he’s smaller than me. But it was a good day. We had a good time, we sorted most of our presents out, and got back home dying of thirst as the salty badness in the cheese began to take its toll.

Fortunately, for my health as well as my wallet, this is not an event I make a regular thing of. In fact, last time I did it was the year before at Christmas with friends from Uni. I think as a yearly treat it can’t be too coronary-inducing. I hope…