328. A show of love.

I’m harsh on my parents if truth be told. They never did ’emotions”. I blame my upbringing to some degree for my current emotional instability, but I do know that they loved us.

They would show this love, not through hugs and kisses, not through hours of play or help with homework, or encouraging pats on the back, but oh my word at Christmas!! We were spoiled at Christmas, ruined in fact. Our living room floor would mimic a toy store. My parents were never rich. They worked long hours for minimum pay, and would have to scrimp and borrow, but at Christmas, myself and my sister would have all the must have toys, gizmos and gadgets. I can recall that one year, Santa even brought a horse!!

And to this day, that’s how love is shown. Tonight my mum secretly handed me a wad of cash. A thick wad, that I know she can’t afford.

I took it though (albeit uncomfortably) because I now know what it stands for. She’s proud of my new job, of my latest achievement and in her own unique way, she loves me.

I only wish she could just say those words.

Loopy x

326. The all clear.

I’m in shock to be honest. I’ve just had a phone call from the occi health department of my new employer.

“The physician had a look at your forms, and is happy to sign you off as fit”

Really? You don’t even want to see me?

I declared my mental ill health on the forms and have been worried, really worried that they’d withdraw my job offer. But no, I’ve been given the all clear.

I intend to pay for private therapy. I intend to book regular massages and other enjoyable treats.

This is my fresh start. Do it right loopy, look after yourself.

Loopy x

279. The interview!

Today was D day. At 2.20 I recieved the Skype call, and was faced with a panel of 5! I was grilled!!!

I’ve come away exhausted, sure I haven’t got it, but I’m not deflated. I’ve done incredibly well to do this, the day after discharge from a psych hospital. It has given me courage to apply again.

You did well loopy. Be proud of yourself no matter the outcome.

Loopy

223. The best day.

Today has been fantastic. The sun was out, little man was in good form, and a dear friend came to visit.

For the first time in quite a while, I felt…. . I felt normal. I was in control of household chores, in control of little man, and in control of my emotions. There were no inexplicable outbursts today, no desires to burn and no little voice in my head telling me I’m awful.

To see my friend, who is doing so well, was great. We played with little man, walked on the beach and basked in our freedom.

I need to remember today. I need to hold on to this good feeling and remind myself when dark clouds ascend; that I am capable off normal, I am capable of laughing and smiling with a friend. I am capable of finding joy whilst dancing with my 2 y.ear old.

Tonight I shall begin prep for a lecture I’m due to give on Friday Tonight it doesn’t feel so daunting

There will be more good days Loopy. Honestly there will.

Loopy x

208. Wound management.

I really should know better. I’ve been doing this long enough!

Dressing brands make promises of longevity, absorbancies and water proofness. When you’re dealing with burns (often full thuckness) as I do, it requires the Rolls Royce of wound care management tools.

Burns result in exudate (the cells and fluid released during inflammation); copiuos amounts in fact, that can rapidly seep through sleeves and garments.

Burns are extremely prone to infection. The skin is our largest protective organ and our first line off deffence against invading pathogens. Furthermore as tissue dies it provides an all you can eat buffet for staphylococcus and his other microbial buddies.

To reduce scarring and achieve improved pain management the healing environment should be moist, and sealed from the elements.

I use Meplilex border Ag when I can. A foam dressing, with a gentle silicone adhesive boeder that can deal with the exudate, combat bacteria with its silver impregnated layers, and provide optimism healing conditions; or so they claim. It’s also thick enough to reduce the odour that accompanies burn healing. Think of your food waste bin, full of meat, during hot summer months in the run up to collection day.

I’d asked my GP for a prescription of said dressings, but my stock is now low. The reality is that these things bend and flex with the contours off your skin. Inflammation induced itchiness forces you to claw and scratch at them. Burning over,or near to old wounds where kelloid scars have formed creates airpockets and channels in the adhesive. All off these factors render them useless within a day or two or immediately following a shower. When my stock is low I try use them sparingly; if at all. They’re incredibly expensive to buy with regularity.

Today’s decision to ration their use created quite the conundrum for me this afternoon. I was going to the gym and knew I’d be showering after. The previous dressing had fallen apart for all the reasons mentioned above and it stunk, so had to be removed. A new one before the gym would waste it, so I left my arms unprotected, covered only by my rash guard. The wounds continued to weep, and a couple of hours later the fabric of my sleeve had congealed with the wound site. IT WAS STUCK!!!

Many of my burns heal with hypergranulation; essentially a process whereby tissue and tiny blood vessels grow back exuberantly above and beyond the original site, creating little delicate flesh mounds. It was one of these that was stuck!!

I soaked my sleeve with water, to no avail. I was forced to “tug!!!” All I can say is Ouch!!! Newly formed nerve endings were severed, blood vessels burst and flesh ripped.

In the context of lecturing I’m used to creating sessions and activities that have “learning outcomes” This was a perfect experience to teach someone not to burn again, but that’s not what I’ve taken away from it.

Despite the trauma, the pain, the odours, the recovery proccesses and the sheer difficulties associated with exudent wound management, and hiding it all from everyone else; I crave it. I need it! It’s my valium, my reality checker, my grounding strategy and my fucked up comforter. It’s my one controllable constant.

I will hoever, be more careful with my wounds.

Loopy x

204. Swimming upstream.

I’ve just completely broken down on OH. There are many reasons that I’m finding today tough;

I’m going in tomorrow to discuss my return to work and I’m not ready. I lied a little to get the nod from Occi Health and right now I’m regretting those lies.

I’ve had a psychiatrist review today and that’s resulted in yet another dosage increase. They have no answers either for my F##ked up head.

Today was my last contact with my CPN as she leaves to take on a new role. Words can’t describe how much this loss has floored me. She’s been my lighthouse in the fog, my buoyancy aid through rough seas and my corner man through every punch that life has thrown at me off late. I’m struggling to process this.

And to top it all off there’s just the weight of greyness, cripplung doubts and self loathing that I cannot shake.

As I’ve said, I’ve broken down on OH. He sat quietly for a moment, drank his mug of tea and has now taken himself off to bed to “lie down for a bit”

All I really needed was a hug. Can someone please swoop me into their arms?

Loopy x

200. A smile that lifted me.

I took a lot from the time I spent on a psychiatric ward. I learned that there are amazing people in this world. I was cacooned in a place of safety and warmth (ignoring the odd erratic patient outbursts). I met people who in the face of staff shortages, shit pay, and regular abuse; gave themselves wholly to the caring of others.

They are truly inspirational, but the one who inspires me the most, was my room neighbour, football companion, confidante and the newest member off my treasured friends list.

I went to visit her today; and her smile and progress since my last visit have lifted my spirits this evening. She was moved to a different unit, and it hit her hard, but today I met a girl transformed. A girl with hope and drive to beat her demons. A girl whose battles are greater than mine, but her strength and resolve are remarkable. I’ve told her many times that 2019 will be our year!!! Chatting and laughing with her today has given me some hope, for both off us.

Come on S, we can do this!

Loopy x