Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Here we are in the UK celebrating another bank holiday Monday, and in the south east the weather is glorious..AGAIN!  I can’t recall a time when both May bank holidays have been sunny – 2018 will be one to remember.

adult background beach blue

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

This week in the PainPals house exams have taken centre stage with the student engineer taking his final “Finals” exam – hooray – and the lovely girl sitting the bulk of her GCSEs.  There is just a group presentation to be given on Wednesday and then he has finished…4 years really have flown by!  Fingers crossed now that he gets the results he wants (and deserves).  The lovely girl is still revising, but feeling a lot less stressed and is creating a pile of books and notes ready for her bonfire at the end of exams!  Prime place is given to Mansfield Park which she hates with a vengeance.  Have I ever mentioned that Jane Austen is one of my favourites?  She keeps speaking to us in German though…this will continue as she plans to take German A level, but we haven’t got a clue what she is saying.  I am enjoying our latest German TV show though that we found on Amazon “You are Wanted” – she listens to the German whilst I read the subtitles.

Mum and the student engineer’s boyfriend (must find him a name, that is too long!!) celebrated their birthdays this week, on the same day, so we all enjoyed a night out at the local tapas restaurant.  I would love to share a picture with you, but the couple that I managed to take are truly awful and as my mother reads this, I really cannot publish them as she would never speak to me again!  The student engineer has planned a night out tonight (most unlike him) – and I can’t say any more in case his other half reads this before they get there. Stop typing, Claire..it is a surprise!!!!

Flamenco

So what have I found for you in the blogging world this week?  It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that four letters have been huge this week – GDPR – and I have included one post that is really useful.  But there is also a little something to tickle your tastebuds for wine day, a lovely piece from Happiness and Food titled “Asphalt and a Leaf” and flamenco..yes, flamenco dancing complete with a video!  I love the last post that talks about the giving and receiving of traditional letters and cards, delivered by the postman.  I take part in a designer’s card swap within the We All Send Cards site (where my girl has designs for sale) – it is so lovely to open a card with a message just for me!

So sit down, maybe with a glass of something cold and refreshing on this lovely day, and enjoy some great blogger’s posts.

https://www.unfoldandbegin.com/how-a-beautiful-traveler-found-herself-at-school/

https://thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/hallo-burbach/

https://johnrieber.com/2018/05/25/its-national-wine-day-2018-toast-to-natures-magical-elixir/

https://www.london-unattached.com/uk-blogging-gdpr/

https://www.fromnicole.co.uk/blog/2018/5/26/stop-blaming-me-for-walking-away

https://croneconfidence.com/2018/05/24/the-best-contribution-you-could-ever-make/

https://www.happinessandfood.com/asphalt-and-a-leaf/

https://www.mostlyblogging.com/sites-like-stumbleupon-mix/

https://www.mecfsselfhelpguru.com/2018/05/me-cfs-flamenco-dancing-and-adaptation.html

https://www.graphic-organic.com/single-post/2017/12/18/Why-Traditional-Mail-Is-So-Important-In-The-Chronic-Illness-Community

IMG_3701

A card through the post made my day!

Please comment, like and share – make someone’s day!

Have a great week,

Claire x

 

Nurses’ Reunion, Remembrance, a very special place: The Fitzrovia Chapel

Dedicated to Kate

Nurses Reunion pin

Last weekend I gathered with a group of special ladies to celebrate 30 years since we had started our nurse training together.  Our school of nursing has long since gone, nurse training has changed beyond all recognition and neither of our teaching hospitals are in existence in their previous state.  But half of our nursing set gathered together in London, travelling from as far afield as New York, for a trip down memory lane and renewing/strengthening old friendships.

We trained at Bloomsbury College of Nursing and Midwifery and spent the majority of our time living and working between University College Hospital and the Middlesex Hospital, situated on opposite sides of Tottenham court Road.

UCH 2

UCH opened its doors on the Gower Street cruciform site in 1906 and this Victorian red brick building remains imposing, if impractical next to its modern day counter part on Euston Road.  A wonderful lady, Lucie, gave up her day off in order to show this group of old nurses around a building that closed as a hospital in 1995, but for us still holds so many memories….UCH 1tunnels beneath the buildings from nurses’ home to hospitals, cockroaches (Yes, REALLY!), endless stairs and the founder’s portrait on the staircase encased by wooden panelling and doors.

It was written into the Night Sisters’ contracts that at the beginning of their shift they must close these doors, for if the doors were left open there would be 3 sudden, unexpected deaths in the hospital that night.  The building is now used by the medical school for research labs, but it was lovely to see the preserved nursery rhyme pictures on the once children’s ward and the stunning architecture.

 

Sadly the future of the beautiful old Middlesex Hospital building on Mortimer Street was not so secure.  It opened in 1757 and had further wings added in 1766 and 1780, but the whole hospital was rebuilt in the 1920s only to be closed in 2006 with the opening of the new UCLH. The building was demolished in 2008 and due to the financial crash, the site remained undeveloped for several years.The Middx

The only part of our building to still be standing in the newly developed Pearson Place, is the grade II listed hospital chapel and it was here that we gathered for remembrance, commemoration, cream teas and Prosecco!  It felt strange to walk into the sleek lines of Pearson Place (also known as Fitzroy Place).  So many memories surrounded us and we brushed shoulders with many ghosts – including one of our own, to whom this post is dedicated.

 

The Middlesex hospital chapel was a place for patients and staff alike, situated in the middle of the hospital, stunningly beautiful, unconsecrated, without denomination and open to all.  We saw laughter and tears, fear and pain, marriage and love within that small pocket of calm situated in the midst of a busy teaching hospital.  I remember singing in there during night shift breaks – not allowed I’m sure – and hiding out after my first patient death.  In order for the space to always be welcoming and never shut away, the main doorway had a special glass door fitted to comply with fire regulations (I believe) and yet to be visible every hour of the day, open for all.

The Middlesex

Still part of the hospital, unrestored….spot the glass door!

Today the newly named Fiztrovia Chapel has been restored by the developers and has a cultural focus, overseen and managed by  a charitable foundation.  During the period that the site was undeveloped, the old chapel was closed up and reopening it, introducing the outside air pressure and movement actually caused damage to much of the original gold leaf decor.  A huge restoration project followed and the foundation to maintain the chapel was founded.  It was through the foundation that we were able to visit the chapel and were given a wonderful historical “tour” by the lovely manager Sarah.

She gave us information about the history of the building and archive material that she continues to uncover, and in turn we were able to provide stories from our time during the 80s.  Whilst there, a group of physiotherapists who worked in the Middlesex Hospital 50 years ago arrived to view the chapel and share memories.  This little Gothic place of beauty, full of gold mosaic and stunning stained glass restored so lovingly by a local firm, costs £10,000 per month to maintain – but to so many of us it is priceless.  If you are ever in the vicinity of Mortimer Street (just off Oxford Street), or are looking for a wedding venue or a film location – the Fitzrovia Chapel is well worth a visit. IMG_1648

Emotions were high on Saturday – for memories, for each other, for friendship.  We worked hard and we played hard – there weren’t many central London night spots unknown to us. Anyone remember the Dreamboys? We do!  We lived together, we grew up together  and we probably shared some of the most intense times of our lives.  Many a time we found ourselves thrown in at the deep end at such a young age.  Our life experience by the time we qualified in our early 20s was way beyond that of many of our peers – we were pretty street wise!

860963_10200765913135710_136399586_o (1)

Have we changed?  No…not really!  At breakfast on Sunday one of the others said that although the saying goes that people change, actually it isn’t true.  Despite marriages, children and whole different lives, we all slipped back to being twenty year olds without thinking.  I had been anxious about going and the day before the anxiety levels were growing.  Whilst my first back surgery was whilst I was a student nurse and I had always dislocated, had migraines, anaemia and fainted – only one of my peers has actually seen me “disabled” by my condition.  It still feels like a big thing to get my head around, and whilst they are nurses and can care for me, I actually don’t want my mates to have to take me to the loo!  So hubby became an honorary nurse for the weekend – he knows them all anyway!

So life goes on and we all leave behind our own little stories carving out a slice of  history.  When the very fabric of the buildings that you made that history in have changed beyond recognition, the emotions are so mixed.  The memories of the nurses’ homes – one at UCH and one at The Middlesex – will always be with my friends (refreshed as history repeated itself when we got in to trouble for setting off the security alarms 30 years on – a stunned student let a group of middle aged women declaring “we used to live here” into the building!), alongside friends & colleagues, patients and relatives, skills gained, calamities forgotten.

The Rockerfellar

The entrance to the nurses’ home – the security guard arrived soon after!

I felt that those familiar yet different surroundings triggered feelings and long buried memories,  hopes and dreams, the best and worst of life.  Is this a familiar sentiment for everyone at particular stages of life?  I wonder if sometimes we get so caught up in the minutiae of what is happening today, that the amazing things already achieved and shaping our lives are (unintentionally) forgotten. Maybe one or two of those ghosts that we all have, be they loved ones or for us patients, would even give us a pat on the back and tell us we did make a difference.

Hoodie!

Complete with set hoodie, adorned with our nursing badge and red hood lining – the same as our nursing capes!

I know that some of my set read this.  Ladies, I say to you that it remains an honour to have shared my informative years with you and last weekend just reminded me how much I have missed you all (I always felt rather disconnected from the set on my return after 6 months away for back surgery).  To don our hoodies and reconnect was a privilege – always have been and always will be ordinary girls/women doing extraordinary work.

This is in honour of Kate, who died when her career was only just beginning.

The-MondayMotivation

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Happy Monday, Pain Pals, and a belated Happy Mother’s Day to all in the USA.  I have just had a really busy weekend – that I plan to write about this week -and am struggling to sit upright today, so I’m not writing my normal preamble about life in the PainPals household. I’m not sure how much sense you would get out of me….

Monday Magic Inspiring Blogs for You! 14 may

 

So I will launch straight into the blogs that I have found for you….there is a wonderful life lessons post from 100 year olds, a letter to the person feeling suicidal, a letter from a mother to the child she carried but never met for Mother’s day and a practical post about moving your blog to wordpress.com.  I really need to sort this out myself!!  Finally I could not let the opportunity go by to slip another a zebra post for May – this book review is fantastic and I could not do better myself for the book that has become our family bible (no offence intended to anyone).

So sit back (I have a cuppa and slice of my Dad’s gluten free coffee birthday cake – made by mum!), relax and enjoy some fantastic bloggers’ writing.

https://www.mymeenalife.com/signs-need-new-rheumatologist/

https://writedownthemidddle.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/pointing-to-myself.html

https://illness-to-wellness.com/2018/05/10/whylive/

https://thepurplealmond.com/2017/03/02/life-lessons-from-100-plus-year-olds/

https://weeklydoseofsue.com/2018/05/13/gob-stopping-comebacks-for-nitwits/

https://awriteradolescentmuse.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/monday-memoir-unforgettable/

https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/transfer-your-existing-domain-to-wordpress-com/

https://thisgirlsgotcurves.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/pathology/

https://wordsthroughthedarkness.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/mothers-day-2018/

https://scienceoveracuppa.com/2018/02/11/book-review-understanding-hypermobile-ehlers-danlos-syndrome-and-hypermobility-spectrum-disorder/

IMG_3262

Please share these posts and leave some comments or likes – make a blogger very happy!

I look forward to writing you some more when the brain and body start to function…in sync!

Have a great week, Claire

 

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You

This week has gone so fast.  It began with my second unsuccessful attempt at a colonoscopy….I have another date for next week, so lets hope it is third time lucky.  I will be sorting my own timings for the bowel prep this time as no one seems to believe just how slow my gut is….we really are talking snail’s pace and if I say no action since the hospital visit last Monday, you get my drift!!!  Stretchy connective bowel tissue = baggy bowel = no peristalsis….self diagnosis.

your story

There were two theatre trips, the first with my mum to see the musical Cilla.  It was mum’s Christmas gift, and I wasn’t sure if it would be my cup of tea…but it was a fantastic show, a very talented cast and I knew all the music.  The lads playing The Beatles were just outstanding.  My second theatre trip was somewhat different and i found myself one of the stars on the stage….but my mate Angela over at You Are Awesome blog have convinced me that there is a blog post in this tale!! Watch this space…

Then hubby set off at the crack of dawn Saturday morning to collect the politics student from university – think I mentioned at Christmas that they have to vacate their residences.  Cheeky so and so had phoned up and told dad not to be late because he had already planned a night out for Saturday.  Nothing like coming home to see your family…..the dog was delighted to see him, if in a very slow, old dog way, but then was extremely confused when all 3 human siblings went out.  He, the dog, spent the night at my bedside as if guarding me in case I decided to do a runner too!  The eldest and youngest didn’t come home, but the politics student rolled in at about half 2 – isn’t it funny how it goes full circle from them waking you as babes and then inflicting broken sleep on you again as young adults.

Long legs

This week I have some posts from old friends as well as some new bloggers – the posts are really different too, from a foodie recipe to a beauty recipe to a photo walk in India.  So grab a cuppa, sit down & kick off your shoes and enjoy some fantastic posts from fellow bloggers.

https://thoughtsfromjasmine.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/ill-never-be-tall-and-skinny/

https://rachaelstray.blog/2017/09/21/make-a-difference-and-become-a-dementia-friend/

http://www.thebigmoneysaver.com/11-amazing-homemade-beauty-recipes/

http://wellingtonworldtravels.com/30-life-sayings-that-made-great-impact-my-first-30-years/

https://jaipurthrumylens.com/2017/10/16/street-photography-jaipur-photo-walk/

https://www.momshomerun.com/2018/03/run-walk-have-cup-of-coffee-technique.html

Untitled design

https://strengthandsunshine.com/10-minute-gluten-free-vegetable-lo-mein-vegan-allergy-free/

https://oddhogg.com/third-trimester-complications/

https://littlespoonie.com/2018/03/22/clean-period/

https://topladytalks.com/2016/10/16/our-first-venture-abroad/

Please remember to make someone’s day by commenting, liking and sharing posts that you enjoy.

Have a great week,

Claire x

Things I’ve learnt since being a mum #MothersDay #SundayBlogShare

How many UK mums woke up this morning to luke warm drinks and cold toast served up on a tray with a side of daffodils?  Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy!  No, my lot are beyond that – in fact only one of them is here and she had to be dragged out of her pit.  But we did have our 7 year old nephew staying and he was awake bright and early – Uncle Dunc’s job to play, watch Lego You tube videos and generally entertain.  So I was greeted with an enormous shout of “Happy Mother’s Day, but you’re my auntie” as I entered the kitchen.

Pin for later

Being a Mum

I haven’t heard from either of the boys in person yet…they may just be emerging from their pits.  The student engineer went out with his boyfriend and his parents last night, and I did try to wangle an invite too but the thought of us turning up sent him a delicate shade of grey, tinged with an air of panic!  But….yesterday morning the doorbell went at some unearthly hour and a delivery arrived for me.  From the politics student…for Mother’s Day.  Wow!!! Very impressed with a lovely box of chocs – but what is with the note?!

Olly gift

All the talk of Mother’s Day on TV & radio this morning has got me thinking about some of the things I’ve learnt since being a mum….

  • Yes the love is unconditional and two way – until you find felt tip all over the walls, or the lovely 12 year old turns into a teen….hormones, smells, trainers, mouldy food, and you are “the worst mum in the world” – maybe a little doubt creeps in
  • There is no right way to do it – but there is your way (and believe me it will be different to everyone else’s!)
  • Parenting is bloody hard and no it doesn’t get easier….it just changes!  Some days you will long for the time that your offspring was portable and could be strapped in to a carrier, rather than this 6 foot something hulk looking down on you determined to do his own thing.
  • An appreciation for your own mum – I’m lucky as she is my biggest supporter, has my back and is my friend.  Hope I can say this about me and my girl too. 

  • Breastfeeding is not the most natural thing in the world for everyone.  Yes I did it people, but…..all 3 babes struggled to latch on (another design fault in my bodywork), I spent weeks walking round with cabbage leaves in my bra and got a fab dose of mastitis each time….twice with the lovely girl, was seen by every feeding counsellor under the sun and had a “let down” reflex that was so strong it even tuned in to passing lorries, leaving me with rivulets flowing down my shirt!!  And….I had enough milk to feed the entire post natal class,  I kid you not, even my midwife asked if I’d considered donating some (this was before the days of internet breast milk sales….can’t get my head round that).  Of course now I take full credit for their combined intelligence as being completely down to my super milk and my bloody mindedness (10 months for the boys, 6 for the girl)
  • Just because your gorgeous toddler eats everything, including his greens, doesn’t mean he will not turn into the fussy eater from hell!  And leaving him with the food in front of him or telling him you are not cooking anything else…well if he is strong willed and bloody minded (wonder where that comes from) he WILL go hungry! Even in his teens and twenties!
  • The playground can be even more competitive as a mum than as a child
  • You really can’t do it for them, no matter how hard you might try – be it walking, writing, revising, taking exams or joining the world of adults.
  • When this human you bore is hurt, physically or emotionally, it really can hurt you more than anything else – strange, but true!
  • They may only  call when they need something (money, a lift somewhere), but it is YOU that they call….
  • Kids are expensive – a whole post in its own right!
  • My reserves run so deep – be it patience, impatience, anger, frustration, love – and I can cope with so much more than I would ever have dreamt possible.  But I still feel like the same person I was at 22….

So I am raising a glass to all the Mums out there past, present and future….and to all of us kids, be we babes or grown ups, for being some Mum’s baby.

Scan 2

How time flies….about 11 years ago!

 

18d9a-post-comment-love-badge

 

The Mystery Blogger Award

img_0989I am delighted to have been nominated for this award last month by Kim – I have delayed sharing it to avoid boring you all, having already written about one award in January! It is always an honour to be recognised by a fellow blogger and I am so thankful to Kim at Keep It Mindful blog. I “met” Kim at the end of last year soon after she started blogging about living life as a young mum with 2 children and a chronic illness. Kim has Multiple Sclerosis and writes with frankness and honesty on all manner of things – about her illness flares to potty training! Visit Kim here on Keep It Mindful and find out more.

The Mystery Blogger Award:

“It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
  Created by Okoto Enigma.

The rules are:

Put the award logo/image on your blog.

 • List the rules.

 • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

 • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

 • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

 • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

 • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

 • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

 • Share a link to your best post(s).    

photogrid_1476365612975

Three Things about me:

1.  I am an avid reader, belong to several online book clubs and a local one where we meet monthly in the pub.

2. I started nurse training 30 years ago next month – March ’88 set.  We are having a reunion weekend in May – I haven’t seen some of the others since the early ’90s.

3. I have a fish phobia – live fish or fish with heads & eyes.  Not great when hubby had a huge tropical fish tank when we were first married!!

My Nominees:

 

My questions for you:

  1. What book has made an impact on you (at any age!)?
  2. Who from history would you like to have a drink  with?
  3. Tea or coffee? Cup or mug?
  4. What has been your greatest achievement?
  5. How would your friends describe you – in 3 words?

 

My answers to Kim’s questions:
1. What made you start blogging?

I was about to have a trial for a spinal cord stimulator to help control my chronic nerve pain and the blogging idea was to cover two bases: for friends and family to know how I was doing & save hubby on phone calls; I had received so much support from others online and I thought maybe I could give back some support & experience.  I must admit the fact my kids thought no one would want to read anything their mum wrote was a bit of a red rag to a bull!

2. Where would be your dream place in the world to see?

Thailand

3. What is your ultimate goal in life?

For me this links to number 5 – to live life to the full whilst I can.  We never know what is around the corner.  If my kids are happy, generous and thoughtful adults…and I have been able to support/help others for as long as possible (I know, I know – the nursey, touchy, feely bit!) then my job is done!

4. If you had one super power what would it be?

Recently I have watched the TV spin off from the X Men, The Gifted – the gift of one mutant was the ability to change/take away the feeling of pain.  This would be my super power!!

5. Who or what is your motivation?

One of my closest friends died aged 37 from breast cancer and I have cared for various young patients as a cancer, AIDS & hospice nurse who died.  They are definitely my motivation, particularly now I have chronic illness, to live life to the full.  There are too many to list here but a few names that stay with me are Clare (aged 21 uncontrolled type 1 diabetes), Connie (age 23 cancer), Paul (age 28 AIDS), Sunil (mid 40s Motor Neurone Disease), Samantha (age 27 breast cancer) John (mid 30s Cancer of tonsils).

 

My 2 favourite posts that I have written are: Today You Beat Me and Be Kind to Each Other

Thank you again, let’s keep the positivity and enjoy your day/night.

Claire x 

Pin for later

Mystery blogger pin

Why Me? Well Why Not me? A Trip in the Tardis won’t be Changing my Lot!

Today I finished reading a science fiction book that has got me thinking – not my usual cup of tea but I have been asked to review it, so that will be coming!  Anyway the premise of the story was of life taking different turns and thus different timelines – the what if? or sliding doors scenario.  The main character finds himself with 3 different versions of himself due to time travel – the timelines all run from 1965 to 2016 and the world is a very different place in each one.  Which timeline is the correct one for the world? Is there such a thing as the “correct” one? How can one minute action change the whole future of the world? If we were all given different life timelines would it be possible to always make the right choices?

Life is full of uncertainties and every day is full of actions that will have consequences. How many times have you wondered after an event “what would have happened if I’d gone left rather than right?” It made me think about a recent conversation where a mother was saying that her poor teen child was always the one that things went wrong for, had the worst health problems, and suggested everyone around them should be sympathetic.  She said “When my teen gets upset and asks why does it always happen to me, I agree that it isn’t fair.”

Why Me

But is this the right way to answer?  Is Mum allowing the teen to always put the blame for every situation on to someone else? It may be better to stand up straight, shoulders back and tell the world “well I don’t like what has been handed to me, but I’m going to damned well get on with it”.  Over the years a powerful message that I learnt from so many patients was the “Well why NOT me mentality?”.  As you all know I can apply this to my health – I don’t have a fatal condition (neither does the teen!), but it is tricky to live with and I find it hard to think I may be like this for another 40 years.  I wonder if I hadn’t taken up rowing aged 12, or if I hadn’t become a nurse, or if I hadn’t fallen down the stairs in my second pregnancy and hurt my back again (hmmm….might answer some of the questions about son number 2!!), or hadn’t had a third pregnancy, or had genetic testing, or, or, or…..there could be so many different timelines if only something had been done differently.

But what a waste of energy.  The past can’t be changed and sadly I don’t yet have a time machine…..and even if Dr Who did offer me a spin in the Tardis, how much would it change?  Not my genetic condition…..I could think “Why me?”, but actually the bigger question is “Why not me?”.  When a close friend died aged 37 from breast cancer, I did ask “Why her?”…….but then look out the window and it could be anyone’s mother, father, brother, sister, friend couldn’t it?  If I could change our family timeline I would want to ensure that my kids hadn’t inherited EDS and that nothing bad would ever happen – but I can’t do that, so my job is to ensure that they accept it, live life to the full and for the moment.  If problems arise – the politics student’s migraines, the lovely girl’s dislocations and pain – then we will deal with them…..but by shouting “why me? it’s not fair….” is not going to help.

So, back to my novel – the main character found that every time the scientist invented a new machine, he also invented the “accident” of that machine; every time he was sent back to try to alter the timeline/revert to the original timeline, his actions would have a knock on effect….with unforeseen consequences.  I think I am actually starting to sound like my old physics teacher – for every action there is an equal and opposite action – or something like that!  So I guess for me and the teen, it means we have to get up, not dwell on the bad bits (sometimes easier said than done) and get on with the good bits.  But this is only one old crone’s ramblings!

Although if I’d had that time machine and could have made it so that I could join in at the SHS Burn’s night dancing last night…..equally I think hubby, Duncan, would be turning his back so that he wasn’t swept up to do the Gay Gordons!!

SHS-Association

Burns Night Celebration – picture from SHS Association

Have a great weekend!

Pin for later

Why No?Pin (1)

Post Comment Love