Monday, 9 February 2009

A bit stressed, actually....

I'm a bit stressed right now. In the giant scheme of things, in light of the tragedy of people in Australia being burned to death in their cars while trying to escape, in the light of a friend of mine being operated on today for oesophageal cancer, in light of the agony being suffered by the parents of a 6-year old boy who fell through the ice and died over the weekend, my stresses don't amount to a hill o' beans but they're there. And this is my blog, so I'll write what I please.

I have suspicions about my health. A few posts earlier I told you about my gastric attacks over the christmas period. I immediately stopped drinking alcohol and they've not (really) returned. Interestingly I seem to have lost my taste for beer and wine subsequently. I've had the odd bottle of beer (as an experiment, you understand) in the last couple of months and have not liked the taste. We opened a bottle of red sometime in January, took me all evening to drink 1.5 glasses and I didn't enjoy it. Time was I could put away a bottle and be dancing and singing around the sitting room, but no longer it seems. Oh well, if it's meant to be then it's meant to be. The upside is that I do seem to have lost weight, around 5 lbs, which is not to be sniffed at and I also no longer seem to suffer from acid reflux in bed at night. This last is an absolute godsend because I was going through bottles of Gaviscon until I thought I should buy shares but now they sit on the floor, beside the bed, getting crusty around the top.

But I had an (extremely mild, it has to be said) attack on Saturday evening, after a bath. I came down, sat on the sofa and immediately felt the all-too-familiar feeling of cramp starting under my right shoulderblade. I took some deep breaths and hoped like fury that it wouldn't get worse and it didn't. I decided not to tell The Husband as he's under a huge amount of stress himself and he don't need no more.

So it's not necessarily the alcohol then that's the problem. When I had all the problems with infections and ERCP-induced pancreatitis back in 2006, the surgeon told me that even though I'd had my gallbladder removed, I could still get gallstones. When I asked how this would manifest itself given that stuff had been taken out, he said, "Jaundice". So, as you can probably imagine, I've spent an unduly large amount of time lately pulling my eyelids down in front of the bathroom mirror. Sometimes I think they look the slightest shade of primrose yellow around the edges, but then it might just be the light from the bathroom window. My skin is naturally slightly olive but I've seen pictures of people with proper Jaundice and they look like they've been dipped in dye, in other words, really yellow. I don't think I have jaundice which, in my mind, means I don't have gallstones.

So what else could it be? Everything felt a bit sore and stiff along the bottom edge (and just underneath) my ribcage yesterday, but it didn't get any worse overnight or when I ate or anything like that. Pee and poo are absolutely normal (sorry to mention that but abnormal pee and poo is a sign of problems). Of course with Jade Goody's cancer battle all over the press and my friend being treated for oesophageal cancer, not to mention Patrick Swayze's fight with pancreatic cancer (the one I'm dreading), then my thoughts can't help but travel to The Big C.

I've decided I do actually probably need to visit the doctor, not least to put my mind at rest. But I'm a bit scared. It could, after all, just be something as meaningless as scar tissue formed from the gallbladder removal. But I doubt it. Something happened over the christmas period to upset my innards, and I really need to know what's going on. I'll make an appointment with my GP tomorrow morning and let you know - it'll probably begin with a blood test to ascertain liver function, and we'll go from there.

Second stressor ('stresser'?) is The Husband's job. I won't go into details but he's working on a short term contract for a world famous financial institute and they're giving him grief. He received an email on Saturday morning that sent him pacing up and down, up and down, chewing his fingernails to the quick and, frankly, panicking. He couldn't sleep Saturday night, he had trouble last night and it's been conference calls to try and save the situation all morning. I've never seen him like this. He left an extremely wellpaid job in the City last August with a view to getting contract work. But then the economy imploded, people were being laid off, he couldn't find work. So when this contract came along, it was a god-send. The money would keep the wolf from the door for a little while. But I'm not sure if it's worth it now - I've never seen him so stressed, not even when I was an emergency admission to the hospital because I nearly passed out with the pain of the gallbladder infection (mind you, I wasn't much aware of anything then).

He's panicked now that the client will think he's useless, and that the company who has employed him will think he's useless and won't want to use him for future contract work. We'll have no money and everything will fall apart. So, yesterday, in spite of my health concerns, I looked at job vacancies online and found a part-time job in a town 15 mins away by train working in the Heritage sector (which I'm trained in). It doesn't pay terribly well but it's part-time, it's in an area that I'd like to get back into and it'll bring a bit of money in. I sent in my application online and the closing date is end of February. I'm terribly over-qualified for it but, what the heck, it's worth a try.

I didn't tell The Husband I was applying for the job (or even that I'd found one) until the application had gone in but he was shocked at what I'd done. He said that the situation wasn't so bad that I would need to look for work just yet but I think, on the quiet, he was grateful.

I have to say, though, at times like these I'm pretty glad I don't have children. When employment situations and health seem precarious, it's good to know there aren't other smaller lives dependent on you.

1 comment:

(Very) Lost in France said...

Hello from another Mrs Jones. I found your blog through Jaywalker. I hope you're feeling better and you've been to see the GP. I had hepatitis a few years ago and was so yellow I was almost lime green! Plus the obvious pee and poo things you've hinted at and the most terrible itching.I'm sure if you were jaundiced you'd know about it. Hopefully it's nothing. Oooh, a part-time job. I'd love one of those but they are very thin on the ground in my neck of the woods. I'll pop back soon to check up on you. VLiF