Category Archives: Health

Seasonal Craziness

I have issues!! Seriously Christmas brings out the crazy in me in the form of OCD and boy have I got it bad!!

For years the Christmas season starts for me in a flurry of decorating, the tree, the windows, the fire place….  but do I share a tender moment with my devoted son while we choose whether to have the angel or the star atop of the tree this year?


I have to decorate in certain way, in a certain order, lights, then ribbon (NOT TINSEL) the fir cones, then the baubles. If anything, in my mind, is out of place it drives me insane, It has in previous years taken me a a whole day just to put up a tree, but even better THEN and only then can the star or angel be put on top  – and this has to be chosen last of all and sometimes not until the day AFTER putting the tree and the rest of the decorations up because once chosen it has to stay there – no swapping and changing AT ALL so this is an important choice!

The colours have to be evenly spread and JUST SO and the fireplace swag has to match the tree and be decorated in the same order at the same  no compromise – as an example of how bad this is when we unpacked and erected the tree this year I couldn’t decorate it!! We’d managed to leave the swag in the loft and I just couldn’t put anything on the tree until this was down too!!  Luckily for me James is very understanding of the crazy and went back up to hunt for it as I could feel myself become quite silly about it!!

Last year was the first year I introduced colour to my tree in the form of bronze and red to go with the well established gold and ivory theme I’ve had going for years in an attempt for make myself loosen up a bit – I’m insane!

All this causes much mirth and derision particularly from my not so understanding sister and much exasperation and frustration from myself.

BUT IF You think that’s bad I used to be worse, much worse, for instance (and  I’ve worked hard at getting over this one because it was ridiculous as I would hunt for days to get this right), the gifts used to have to colour coordinated – the adult presents would be gold or ivory paper with red ribbon and the children’s red with gold or ivory ribbon and wrapped just so….

Notable insane moments:

  • The year I unwrapped ALL the presents and started again because they didn’t look right (unwrapping one or two to start again isn’t a rare occurrence in my house BUT all of them is a stretch by even by standards)
  • Taking down the tree and starting from scratch TWICE!
  • Letting TBK and James hang baubles only to go ahead and move them when I thought they wouldn’t notice because they were in the “wrong” place.
  • Point blank refusing to let James bring any of his decorations with him when he moved in with us as they wouldn’t match mine, and then buying him decorations that matched my colour scheme and still refusing to let him hang them on the tree because they’re just not right!
  • Finally succumbing to my OCD and buying TBK a tree & decorations for in his room as I didn’t want him to miss out on decorating his own tree and he can have as much tinsel as he likes!

So with all this in mind imagine how I’m coping this year with two very mischievous cats who are spending their first Christmas with us!!

I took the decision early on not to put out my nativity scene and I’m glad I didn’t because they keep knocking things over and pulling things down. They keep climbing my tree and flattening the branches and knocking off baubles  and chewing my ribbon, and yesterday they discovered if they pull hard enough they can pull my fireplace swag clean off the surround thus clearing any obstacles for them to sit on there – somewhere THEY NEVER CHOOSE TO SIT AT ANY OTHER TIME OF THE YEAR.

This year it’s going to be kill or cure for my OCD as I’m either going to have to deal with it – or go not so quietly insane battling with those damn cats – I’m hoping for the first option but as I left for work nearly in tears this morning as I again found my beautiful fire place destroyed I think odds are I’m currently leaning towards the latter!

Good Deed December

December means  Christmas, which to most means presents and food and drink and parties…and to be fair it does to an extent to me too but I’ve been thinking lately about the spirit of Christmas, the good will to all men and peace on earth sentiment possibly the romantic view but I thought why can’t it be like that? At least a little bit anyway, All it would take is a little effort to put a smile on peoples faces…

…So this December has been decreed Good Deed December, my own advent of good deeds.

Between now and Christmas day I plan on trying to complete a good deed each day and hopefully update here and my twitter feed (@essitam) using the tag #gooddeedfortheday, (when I get around to it, I suck at keeping blogs up to date maybe this is the impetus I need).

I’m sure some deeds will be more worthy than others but it’s important to remember the little things also count……

1st December Carried a ladies bags up a flight of stairs.

2nd December Dispatched James to an elderly neighbours to get her shopping list and went to the super market after work just for her (I needed nothing myself)

3rd December took the lovely lady in the post office a Lemsip, she was suffering when she dealt with my parcels and I thought she could do with it.

Continue reading Good Deed December

Merry Christmas

Maybe you are my friend, or maybe we’ve never met before.
Maybe we speak to each other daily, or maybe we’ve never so much as passed on the street.
Maybe I know you virtually in my on-line world of Twitter, of flickr, of moblog  or facebook.
Maybe I know you in the real world and every so often we’ll see each other in the pub or you come to my house and we laugh and joke the night away…
…but but however we may, or may not, know each other friend, family, acquaintance or stranger may I wish you the best for this festive season and a very prosperous new year…..


Merry Christmas.


The #welovethenhs twitter hashtag was started  to help defend the National Health Service from  attacks that are being launched on it by some of the opposition in the USA. President Obama has made health care reform a hot topic in the states by trying to approach the subject of re-balancing the inequalities they have there, mainly a  health care system which penalises the most needy and rewards the most privileged.

Personally, I have many reasons to moan about the NHS, but I also have many reasons that make me thankful for them, So when people start debating their own flawed medical systems by jumping all over our established system they have, in all likeliness, no first hand experience of  so cannot put forward a balanced debate, then I feel compelled to defend.

In the US without decent health insurance (and in some cases with  it) if I were in an accident or if I, or TBK fell ill. I would have to choose my/his/our treatment based on what I could afford, not on what would be best for us. At least with the NHS our options are sorted, I wouldn’t have to choose between paying for mine or TBK health care if I couldn’t afford both. I don’t have to worry about any unforeseen accidents or illnesses,  I know that if and when we fall ill or accidents  happen we would be dealt with in a fair, non for profit system.

Now  I know the NHS isn’t perfect, the waiting list  for basic medical care (I’m thinking about my 6 months wait for physiotherapy here) for example is atrocious, I know it has boundaries, we’ve read enough negative headlines about post code lotteries and NICE withholding medicines because of costs to know it’s not perfect but it’s what we have and in my opinion it’s a whole lot better than the alternatives.

For every 2 or 3 horror stories you hear there are 2 – 3 HUNDRED maybe THOUSAND successes. It was NHS surgeons who operated on both my mother and grandmother who without surgery would have both succumbed to different forms of cancer long ago.  When I was younger and had to have operations to correct my sight, it was NHS surgeons who treated me and made sure that I can see well enough to be sitting here writing this blog today and when I was in labour with TBK and he was lying the wrong way around, stuck and going nowhere fast it was the NHS midwives and doctors who helped me deliver him with not a second glance towards my paperwork to check which painkillers my policies covered.

The US is a deeply divided nation on health as in many other policy areas – it is simultaneously home to some of the planet’s best hospitals, the best research in medical advances and the best healthcare practioners – and also home to some of the worst poverty and barriers to healthcare, the worst developed-world child mortality rates.

Alex Foster , LDV

I know people personally who will argue back at me that our system is flawed, and from their experience they think the whole system needs to be altered, but to them I say this;

Fall down the stairs, be hit by a car, suffer a brain hemorrhage, develop cancer, suffer from MS, ME, asthma, eczema, give birth, twist your ankle, be the wealthiest or the neediest person in the UK, it doesn’t matter because when you need it the NHS will be there. You will be treated the same as the next person regardless of your economic standing, and you will be treated for free, So UK doubters and the US critics, give the NHS a break no system is perfect and where ever there is something to be paid for there will be restrictions but if it wasn’t for the NHS and  what they do, I along with countless others wouldn’t be here today.


Is it a bird....?

I’m going on Holiday in October Term time AND taking my 9 year old son with me. I take him out of school every year for a holiday and for other activity days, as was agreed with his school that I be allowed to do so in advance of enrolling him.

Flexi Schooling is the correct term for it.

I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously and TBK consistently scores in the top percentile in his class  and receives glowing praise every year from his teachers, he has friends in school who come home to play (please read create havoc), and is fully integrated into society, he is bright and articulate, and as bias as I may be as his mother I do have the school reports to back this up, His education and social skills are not suffering because of it, if anything they are prospering.

YET the local paper is yet again reporting on an increase of “Truancy Fines” and while the article itself didn’t really rub me up the wrong way.  As, I will never have to pay a truancy fine for my son  as we’ve the proper protocol in place for our educational choices, But taking out holiday leave from the debate,  it still leaves the question unanswered of WHY these young people feel the need to play truant in the first place?*,  What really wound me up was the ignorance of some of the commentators who posted both before and after me.

These trips or in some peoples eyes “absenses” provide an education kids just can’t get when in school and also teaching shouldn’t just happen, and in our life DOESN’T, just happen from 9am – 3pm in the classroom!

On our holiday, just like last year, we will be teaching TBK Maths (currency conversion), Geography (he knows where we are going and surrounding countries) History, (we often like to visit cultural and historical monuments while away and actively encourage TBK to involve himself in the culture). R.E. (Turkey (this years destination)  is a predominantly a Muslim country) and much more, all on a one to one basis for periods of time he would never get in the classroom.

Previously he’s also been out of school to have the opportunity to attend HESFES, (the home educators seaside festival) where he has taken part in wood work and metal work excersizes,  fabric painting and labyrinth building amongst other things, using skills he’d have never developed sat behind a desk.

We’ve taken him out of school to have a hands on learning experience  as a zoo keeper for the day.  He’s had time off to go to an archery day, and to attend other exhibitions and events. Once, when he was in reception class, I even kept him off school on a Monday JUST so he could have a day off, As over the weekend he had participated in clay building with us, visited a monkey sanctuary, spent an afternoon playing drums and for a child of only 6 this was a lot, he needed the rest!

So how about we stop stereotyping parents who take their kids out of the classroom for any period of time as losers (as one commentator metioned) or selfish (as another did) and look at the beneifts these extra curricular activities can and do provide!

The real time and effort should be concentrated on dealing with the parents who’s children aren’t getting any education through truancy because the parents just don’t care!

* Yes I played truant as a teen, and I was duely punished for it by my mother, But I know why I did it. I hated my English teacher and she hated me, proven fact as she marked all my work down and told me , and my mom, I woudln’t get higher than a D,  myc oursework was sent to the invigulator and came back marked higher and I left school with a B (lit) and a C(lan)  Take that Mrs Smith!

Maybe if I’d have been listened to as a teen and moved to another class I’d have attended those sessions I missed and maybe that tis the answer now, listening to what our young people want!

Sausage Lips.

For the last week or so I’ve been battling a cold which at 4:30am Tuesday morning it finally broke. I know it was 4:30 as that was the time the clock told me it was when I woke up unable to breathe through my nose, a pounding headache due to the blocked sinuses and shivering.

A duvet day was in order. A day off work recovering. A day on the sofa with nothing but a cup of tea in one hand and medicine within easy reach…

No such luck!

Tuesday was the day I had booked off work to take TBK to his zoo keeper experience over at Dudley Zoo (post with pictures to follow).

So diligently, like every good (yet reluctant) parent would, I lay awake unil 7:30am, when I dragged my sorry ass out of bed to wrap myself up, grab my camera and haul myself into Dudley and around the zoo.

We had a lovely day, but we got caught in multiple showers and by the time we got home I was exhausted, I knew there was no way I was going anywhere for the next 24 hours at least, the cold coupled with a day in the rain had taken me with a left hook and knocked me off my feet.

I spent the next morning in bed recovering and come dinner time felt well enough to venture down stairs, I spent a hour or so at my computer before heading with with my blanket to the sofa, where I fell asleep.

I awoke a few hours later and immediately knew something was wrong, My mouth felt fuzzy and my lips were stuck together and hurt, my nose was still blocked and I was having difficulty breathing. I went to the mirror I was confronted with something that looked like this….

Sausage lip

This photo was taken 24 hours after my “outbreak” so the rawness had gone out of it and some of the localised swelling has gone down.

My bottom lip had swollen to nearly twice it’s normal size and all over the centre of the lip were lots of pin head size ulcers that had merged into one giant mass, and was so painful I can not describe!

A quick query with NHS direct and I discovered that this particular complaint was “Herpetiform Ulcers” my immune system had taken a knock and this was the result. Swelling, Pain and the sexiest smile in the world. Nice isn’t it? And the only thing I can do is treat it with Bongela, wear a paper bag over my head when leaving the house and rest up to give my immune system chance to recover.

One the plus side though, Who needs collogen? Leslie Ash paid good money to get a look like this and I got it completely free!

A thank you

To the girl on the top deck of the 559 bus travelling from Wolverhampton towards Wednesfield at approximately 5:30pm last night.

I was the girl sitting in front of you wearing the black coat. You were the girl sitting behind me in the atrocious yellow jumper, purple skirt and black tight combination, complaining like an ungrateful bitch to the long suffering friend on the other end of your phone call,  that “like my mom and Dad have only got me a laptop for Christmas yeah, and I like sooo wanted a laptop last year but not now!!” and coughing every two minutes without a thought of placing at the very least your hand in front of you hole you were hacking out of.

Thank you,

Thank you for coughing down the back of my neck and sharing your germs. I really loved waking this morning with the start of a cough of my very own and a heavy head, It was so much fun to know that this festive season people were so into the whole sharing thing they’ve extended it to strangers on buses even if it wasn’t required or even really wanted.

I’m going to really enjoy spending the first Christmas in 5 years I’ll actually be at home with my son instead of stuck in work, feeling like shit, wrapped up with an hot water bottle and having to watch the festivities go on around me as the flu you shared has sapped me of all energy. Thanks a whole lot!

To anyone who knows this caring sharing person, The one with an annoying habit of holding conversations at the phone at the top of her voice over the phone while on the bus, please pass on my gratitude, and if you know her parents may I suggest that you go and offer them an alternative to the laptop they were going to buy for her that she blatantly isn’t bothered about getting …

…ask them to buy her some fucking tissues!!

Seasons Greetings Wolverhampton