For life's little ups and downs.

A rather quirky, funny and sometimes daunting look in to the life of someone who has a lot of health problems but does their best to keep positive. Punctuated by guinea pigs, anime, superheroes, transforming robots and cross stitching.

I started this blog to tell my story, about who I am and what I do. On top of the health problems and raising awareness for those, I also use my blog as a way to help promote other causes, particularly ones which affect the most vulnerable. I live with a number of different and complex health problems but I refuse to let anything get me down. I know how it feels to be discriminated against or thrown aside. This is me. This is my life. I live it and do what I want with it. Nature sets the limitations. We set the boundaries.

About Me:

A blog about life. I live with Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Type 1 Brittle Asthma, Various Allergies, Neutropenia, Chronic IBS, Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS and Osteoporosis and Heredetary Spastic Paraplegia. I live with these conditions, but I refuse to let them keep me down and out. I still try and make the most of my days despite being so poorly and having to rely on my wheelchair, nebulisers, nearly 50 pills a day and 2l/min of oxygen.

I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Picking Up The Pieces...

I couldn't believe it, last week kind of melted in to one solid mass, well apart from the pleasures of the weekend and the wonderful friends who really lifted my spirits. If it weren't for my blog I wouldn't have known what exactly happened to me over the last 7 days. In my head its all a blur that all I have in terms of evidence is a seriously bruised wrist, more pills than a pharmacy and instructions of regular nebs until things start looking up.

Its funny in a way, how weird things have gotten. I never thought I would get in to those size 8 skinny jeans that I had "just in case", let alone pull them on and off without undoing the button or zip. If it weren't for the stretched out skin that has lost all elasticity, I wonder, just how good I would have looked. At the end of the day, I guess I just have to make the most of what I do have. I had some reassuring news that Hope wasn't a lethal Roan/Roan gene baby from the Guinea Pig Forum.

I was really worried as Roan/Roan babies are riddled with health problems and they tend to die very young. Hope is such a little cutie and I would never want to lose him. I think after the death of Alphonse, I am being very cautious and worry so very much about my lovely animals.

As for the claim about the pavement that caused me to break my foot, turns out that it doesn't look as though the pavement was raised enough. I am obviously a little let down, but those are the breaks. In a way, I am kind of relieved as I think that the money would have caused all kinds of arguments and problems so I think I am a little glad to not have to worry about that. But I will fight the DWP to get what I should be getting for my illness. I will catch a break eventually, honestly. I think January was meant to be a month of bad luck, well that was what the runes foretold. I am just hoping beyond hope that February turns out a bit more fruitful and my assessment at Atos will be seen fairly and I don't get further screwed.

It is good really that I have my contingency plans up and running for the bills and the like, but I had to get to that point really where those contingencies could be set up. I am trying my hardest at the moment to catch a break, but it isn't easy at all when there is just so much trying to stand in our way. Ah well, keep positive and maybe something good will happen.

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Stop the World, I wanna Get Off!!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where all you want to do is find a cave, somewhere remote and just weather the storm? I feel like this after every admission, especially ones that were pretty horrible. Every little noise is making me jump and I just can't sit still, and I don't know why. I should be happy to have the chance to stay in bed all day and sleep, but I am going absolutely spare and getting more and more frustrated by the waste of potential that is all around us. Young people who idly sit waiting for everything to come to them when they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves.

I am annoyed by all of this, as a party I was really looking forward to, I couldn't go because I am just not well enough for it. I feel awful as I love JP like a little brother and really wanted to have some fun on his Birthday, but I have a trick up my sleeve... Can't say exactly what, but I know he will love it.

I think I now want to just work through the recovery process, but it is really hard as even the smallest of things leave you shattered and you can't just dive in at the deep end. I am trying. Believe me I am. It is just so difficult getting back in to routine when you have been sick and with the Magnesium finally working its way out of my system, I am feeling a bit deflated as I expected a bit more of a permanence for it... I know that sounds silly. With Asthma there is no permanent fix. I know this. But I really REALLY can't accept it easily. It is almost like I am asking myself "Is this it?" and "At 23, am I doomed to a life of pills, inhalers and nebs, becoming all the more dependent on all the more medical equipment?"

I think, like most people who are in this boat, all I want really is a normal life. Or what would look a bit more normal and not like an episode of Casualty or Holby City... I never want a near miss with ITU ever again, it hit me today that they were preparing to put me in a coma, just to keep me alive and that REALLY scares the life out of me...

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 28 January 2011

Never felt this tired before...

Everytime I think that I couldn't get any more tired than the episode before, my body really does like to prove it can do one better! After my last few hospital runs, I was tired, stressed and irritable as hospital had become a bit of a negative experience. Not because of the being in and having things done to me, but more the effect this had on Steve. He would get stroppy and aggressive for days after, for reasons even he doesn't even know. It is a lot to put up with sometimes.

This time there has been none of it, but could that be the fact that this attack was one of the worst ones I had ever had. What got me was I was so terrified of going in because of Steve's reactions to me being in hospital, I fought this bugger for 2 days. 2 days of nebbing, hoping and trying my best to not have a huge one. Unfortunately we all know what happens when it comes to the best laid plans of mice and men, or should we say "hamsters and Wendy's". It, as it was destined to, went completely awry and I was so sick, had the Magnesium not done it, I would be lying in ITU this very moment.

This has only just sunk in, and it has really rattled me. I have had close calls, but nothing to this extremity or to this kind of effect. I really need to stop fighting this and just accept it, when I need to go in, I NEED TO GO IN OR I WILL DIE, and at only 23 years old, I really have too much to do first, as nice as the idea of the Rainbow Bridge is, I am not ready to go there. Not just yet.

It was strange, although I only did a few things today, nothing too strenuous, I am absolutely exhausted and am actually getting ready for bed at an early time. Neighbors permitting of course!

Loves
Wendy xx

Getting back to normal(ish)...

Today is the first official day after being in hospital, and I have been trying to get back in to a more normal routine and pick up where I left off. Which I will openly admit is difficult for me at the moment as the smallest things are making me feel very tired.

I slept for 12 hours last night, and didn't even notice, until I was woken by a very small and very cute little animal coming to give me a cuddle. Hope is a little angel and he loves coming up and saying hello to me and curling up next to me. It  is very sweet and comforting really, knowing such a tiny little animal has adopted me as his surrogate mother. I moved over to get something last night and the little tinker came running up to me wheeking his little head off, clambering up on to Tigger and snuggling up in the crook of my arm. How cute!!

When I finally rolled out of bed, around 11, we went and got a few odds and ends from Iceland, we were running short on the basics which happens unfortunately and at least one of us needed to go, and well, I had spent the last 2 days lying around doing nothing so I thought that instead of just doing more laying around doing nothing, I would go too. It was harder work than I expected and I was shattered by the time I got back home, maybe I did do a bit too much too soon, but I like to test my boundaries from time to time. It is good to know where I stand and what I can do, rather than what I can't which gets depressing.

Hey ho, I am back home now and have decided to take to my bed for a while, catch up on TV I missed, do some reading (actually am enjoying the Metal Gear Solid novelization), Sudoku and other more sedentary pursuits, except maybe a band practice so long as I take it easy and be careful about my chest.

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Escape from the Alex...

Sounds like it should be an action flick doesn't it? Sadly it ended up looking more like an episode of Casualty without the blood and guts. OK so there was a little blood, but that was just from my IV line when it exploded then shut down. When an IV explodes, there is a sudden gush of blood, and usually I bleed through gauze after gauze. This time, the vein shut down and collapsed at the same time, so luckily there wasn't much blood, but my wrist is swollen and sore... Bad times...

I was there because my chest refused to play nice. It was so weird, I was a little off colour and tired, but I never expected such an attack. After 2 nebs at home, plus the hourlys I'd done all day, it soon became very obvious, I was not going to get any better. So Steve did the responsible thing and called 999 and got me an ambulance. I was whisked away, Oxygen driven neb on the go, to the hospital. Where I was given about 3 more nebs and some steroids. As well as more oxygen. I was really not improving and the doctor was running out of options. So we opted to try something that we had never done before. An infusion of 2g Magnesium and 250ml of 0.9% Saline solution direct in to the vein.

What amazed me was within an hour I was starting to really feel better. By 3 AM I was almost back to normal, however, I did start wheezing again when the doctor, funnily enough an old consultant who didn't believe in asthma, go figure, came to see me. We had a good banter and a laugh and he said I had looked a lot better and certainly sounded a lot better previously. I was given Prednisolone, Clarithromycin (antibiotic) and other medicines. I am now on rest orders, whether I like it or not, and I have to take it or I will have to spend more time back in hospital. As lovely as the staff are, I really can't afford to go back there for any period of time.

Thanks to everyone for the get well wishes. I will be back on my feet again soon :)

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Fever and Humping Guinea Pigs...

Yes you did read that right. We have a Guinea Pig who is an inveterate humper. Hope spent most of last night trying his hardest to hump Gizmo and Patch. Patch was looking neither impressed nor appalled by this frisky little white thing that kept mounting him and humping his face. It would have been one of the funniest things I'd seen, had it not been for the anguished squawking from Gizmo from having his face humped. I think Gizmo must have the patience of a saint! You would need it with Hope when he does things like that.

I fell asleep very quickly after constructing myself a nest of pillows, teddies and blankets. I swear my dreams are odd at times, as I dreamed that Nathaniel had somehow acquired my old yellow Gameboy console. I'd had that thing for YEARS and it was battered, ratty and the screen panel had fallen off years ago. I think I lent it to someone, but never saw it again, not that I mind, but I will admit it would be nice to see it again if possible. I think between that and my Master System (which I know Nathaniel did have off me), that thing was a part of my childhood. I guess I have been a gamer from a young age really, but that is just me.

I woke up and I felt hot. It was a knock at the door from the Housing Officer who wanted to talk to me about my well-being. I must have looked a right sight, white as a sheet, sweating and shaking, wheezing slightly. He asked if I was alright and I just said I had woke up, he apologized for waking me, and I went back to sleep for a little while. When I woke, I was still feeling hot, so I checked my temp, 39.8... peak flow was very low at 160 l/min and I was generally feeling crappy. I took my pills, some co-codamol as I was in a lot of pain, and a long neb of Salbutamol, Ipratropium and Saline, as well as my Symbicort inhaler.

Today, I just feel crap and don't quite know what to expect so will keep you posted. 

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

After a hard days... something...

I spent today working hard, cleaning everything and every surface. The kitchen now gleams and smells like freshness and the slight hint of bleach. I know too much bleach is dangerous, but a little around the kitchen and bathroom and the dust container of the vacuum cleaner. Yes I know its a bit strange, but every month or so, I like to give the dust container and filters a good clean out. I mean, you wouldn't go to war with a dirty gun, so why would you want to clean with a filthy vacuum cleaner?

So I am now pleased to say that the flat is immaculate and there is absolutely no dust in the bed, carpet, chairs or anywhere else that the grey stuff that makes me wheezy likes to cling. I couldn't be more impressed. I even did the kitchen today too, cleaning down everything and moving things so that they could be cleaned under. I always found the idea of cleaning around everything instead of moving it and doing a proper job so half-arsed. You should either do it or not. No, scrap that, housework should ALWAYS be done and done properly. There is no excuse to live like a tramp, or in Steve's Dad's case, like a slob in a hovel that would make most vagrant's personal hygiene look perfect and clean.

I really do tend to pick up on poor hygiene and find it repugnant when people are just disgusting and don't wash themselves, or in Steve's Dad's case are so fat that they urinate every time they sit down and don't see it as a problem. Even though, most of Redditch are laughing at HIS expense. I have nothing against people with weight issues, heck, I have weight problems myself, what does annoy me is when people have these issues and just sit there and do nothing, not because they can't but because they won't. Or in his case, he just wants others to do it for him. He really does need to take responsibility for himself, his home and his child.

Maybe I felt a bit bitter as I cleaned today as I kept thinking of him, and my Alphonse. I know Steve's Dad (who remains nameless purely because, although everyone close to us knows who he is, I really don't think he deserves naming as he is such a pathetic and disgusting excuse for a human being) spent his day as always, on his sofa snoring while Luke was at school and Tina, a lovely dog, had to try and amuse herself. The bacteria in the house growing all the more and the ammonia in the toilet destroying the lungs of everyone who goes near the place.

I shed a tear for my lost one, I know he was a guinea pig, but he was MY guinea pig and I loved him. He was one of my family and since he passed away there has been an Alphonse shaped hole in my life and worst of all, in our hearts. All because he couldn't clean his kitchen and and the food becoming contaminated with HIS germs and HIS vileness.

Loves
Wendy xx

One of my more difficult days...

I don't know whether it was the fact I hadn't slept well, the fact I was being jerked around by the Psych people or the fact that it all hit me at once about how I had been taking things and not having anywhere where I could just get some REST, but today, I just lost it. I got angry. I got upset. I allowed myself to feel how I had been for a while.

It's hard sometimes when your bouncing from one bug to the next and not having anywhere to just rest for a while and recuperate. After JP called, I just wanted to go back to sleep, but no that wasn't to be, the jerk next door decided that he wanted his music so loud that it rattled the guinea pig cages, upsetting them and preventing me from getting the rest I sorely needed. I am sick of this place. I am sick of having to listen to someone else's music at stupid volumes.

I got up and had a chat with my solicitor about my injury, we can go ahead and we have a claim, BUT we need to get some photos of the slab itself and measure it. We can do it and we can get some real pennies for it. So I will sort it all out and get what is owed to me as I was in so much pain with it. OK it was serendipitous as we found out I had Osteoporosis (bone thinning disease for the layman) which means that I am now on some bone protection which seems to work. I haven't broken anything but a few ribs and a crack to my knuckle, but that's about it.

I'm tired. Maybe tonight I can get some sleep as I have laid off the caffeine drinks. Here is hoping, my lungs are aching from my outburst, so it is likely that I will suffer for it tomorrow, but at 1, I have an appointment at the YMCA to meet my support worker. Someone I can talk to, confide in and get referred to some counseling and some support against my neighbor.

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Proof that I am wired differently...

Isn't it a Christmas tradition to put on a little (or a lot) of extra padding which we then work for ages to shift it again. Well it seems to be my thing to eat the worst diet in the world (and I mean some of the things I eat in a week would make Gillian McKieth have a heart attack or she would murder me! I mean I eat all kinds of crap, from Pot Noodles, crisps, chocolate to drinking copious amounts on energy drinks like Relentless and Rockstar.

Of course, I do try and have my 5 a day and don't drink dairy milk. I do seem to be getting my nourishment from somewhere so I guess its not all bad. Even so, when I thought for shits and giggles to try on a pair of skinny jeans that I hadn't been able to get to meet in well over a year and actually be able to close them AND move around without the feeling of being cut in two, I was pleasantly surprised. These jeans were a size 8 and shouldn't fit me, but hey ho, they do!

I think I am just trying to work out how I am actually getting skinnier, and eating more junk food than I have in years. Surely, I should look like Steve's Dad, bulging out in places and huffing and wheezing on every step. Not that I mind of course, but it do wonder. I think I probably lose weight so easily because my body is usually fighting off something or another, from viral infections and flu to more hefty bacterial infections and pneumonia.

Loves
Wendy xx

Itchy face...

I always know when I have been run down or under the weather, I end up with hives and my eczema really plays up. My body, as it has no natural immunity to ANYTHING, overcompensates and pretends to be allergic to itself as it attacks itself. Although I have NO allergies to anything, apart from, it seems, myself. So my body has loads of clusters of hives and my face is swollen, crusty and painful with eczema and I have to take anti-histamines to try and calm it down.

Needless to say, my chest isn't best pleased by all of this either, and I have been coughing and spluttering like mad. This isn't the most fun in the world, but it is all par for the course really when you live with Brittle Asthma and have such a bad immune system. I was paranoid about gaining weight, but it seems again that I have lost some, probably due to the fact that the last week or so, I didn't eat much, until yesterday and the day before when I porked down like it was going out of fashion! But this is a typical pattern for me, while coming down with something, I will eat like a horse for 2 or 3 days, then will do up to 2 weeks on nothing or near as damn it.

I managed to get some photos of the slabs that caused my accident, all I have to say there is thanks Google! for Google Earth!! I got some photos of the exact point I tripped, I have copies of my x-rays and a photo of my foot just afterwards. SUCCESS!!!

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Snapshots of time...

Its funny really, when you go digging through some boxes and find albums or folders of various photographs. When I look at old pictures now, I can almost hear the conversations we were having, the feelings of the moment. Its almost like a time machine that carries me back through a childhood that ended so quickly and abruptly.

The strange thing is, I don't feel sad or angry about everything that ever happened to me. Call me crazy, but I am actually thankful for the things I went through and the rough experiences. Yes, they were hard. Yes, there have been times when I have wanted to give up on myself and end it. But I will tell you one thing, I wouldn't change any of it for the world, as whatever happened to me when I was a kid and in the past is just that. In the past.

Each thing has given me a chance to grow and overcome giving me the chance to become a stronger and happier person. I don't take anything for granted anymore and I don't see everything as a given. I take each day as it comes and truly agree that life is what you make it.

Loves
Wendy xx

Developments...

This morning, I was woken up by the phone ringing. Just as well really as I was dreaming about, well I don't actually know what it was but it wasn't the most fun of things. My phone-call was from The National Accident Helpline and their legal team. They wanted to discuss with me what had happened when I had my accident last year.

After a good chat and looking at the situation, it was decided that I have got a claim here and chances are I can expect a rather nice award. More than enough to clear the debts we have, get Steve a new laptop (we talked at length and he said that this was all he would ask for, knowing what I may end up with, I think I would be a right tightwad if I didn't do that at least) and generally upgrade all the things we need upgrading and treat the piggies to something lovely too.

I won't be handing out lump-sums just because I have been made to feel bad about things. Yes I will get him a laptop, but this will be to make up for the fact that our last birthdays and Christmas's were a bit of a wash out as we didn't have that much money.

I WILL NOT BE MANIPULATED OR BULLIED IN TO GIVING STEVE LARGE LUMP SUMS WHICH CHANCES ARE HE WOULD WASTE ON RUBBISH.

I will probably buy a few things for myself and sort out a few things, maybe even put a small amount away in a bank account (obviously declared to DWP) to build up some savings for the future and keep us well out of debt for the rest of our lives. I think the idea that if we can't afford it, we DO NOT have it will be the recurring theme. Heck it will be absolutely lovely not to have debt collectors knocking our door because of my own stupidity and the fact I had these Credit Cards in the first place. I know one thing, I will NEVER have another credit card as long as I will live.

As promised, I think I will explain how the credit card debts came about. I got my 1st Credit Card back in 2008, the original idea was for emergencies or to help me get my 1st moped. At 1st, it was all going well, yes I was spending on it, but as I was working I could pay it off. Life was easy. Until my mother got wind and started using my card to get things like shopping in, never repaying what she spent on there. I then moved out and had to life on my card. I was paying it off on time and keeping my head above water, but it wasn't easy. I also ended up with another card from Barclaycard which was used to repair damage to my flat, which wasn't my doing, but as I was the tenant, I still had to pay upwards of 500-600 pounds. After getting with Steve and everything that went on there (codiene, pandering and everything else), I just fell behind and was never able to get back on top of things. Due to interest and late payments, being messed around by JSA/ESA and Housing Benefit not backdating as no one took responsibility our debts looked as follows: (correct at last statements)

£1119.53 - Halifax Credit Card (I have a £50 a month agreement with them at the moment)
£617 - Barclaycard (another £50 per month agreement)
£518- Rent Arrears

Total Debt - £2254.53

With the compensation claim, we can pay this all off in one fell swoop and then all credit card accounts can be closed down and never touched by any of us, EVER again.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 21 January 2011

More Phonecalls, Organising and an Unexpected Nap...

I carried on making phone-calls, sending emails and doing various other things for the remainder of the day, just trying to get everything sorted out and make sure we are getting EVERYTHING we are entitled to, rather than thinking we can't for whatever reason. Watching that "Saints and Scroungers" programme has really spurred me in to action, and we both agree that if we can, we should. As the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained. So I have decided that it can't hurt to try, even if it takes a good while and we may not get THAT much from claiming the backdates we were entitled to, the compensation that is owed to us for my foot accident, and making sure that a certain cheat gets whats coming to him. At least we made some headway.

There are a lot of people out there who don't know how to, or are refused the help that they need, so it really burns me when I see or hear about people who are "playing the system". I find the reasons they give so flippant, the worst of which was Steve's dad who said he was playing the system because "The system fucked [him] over." No, that is really NO excuse at all and whatsoever. It is people like him who are ruining the welfare system for everyone who genuinely needs it and they need a public example making of them.

Any award I get from my accident, I WILL declare. Whether it affects my benefits or not. For no other reason than it is the right, no, decent thing to do. I would also be making sizable donations to Asthma UK, the RSPCA and of course the PDSA respectively as well as clearing as much debt as I can. Sharing what is left between myself and my partner so that we can both at least benefit from this and there are no arguements. As hard as my broken foot and asthma have been on me, he often reflected how hard all of this has been on him, and how it is the reason why he hasn't been able to find work as yet. He says now he didn't mean it, but he wouldn't have said it else would he?

I know my illnesses haven't been the easiest thing to live with, heck, I will admit that I had been considering harming myself horrifically after he said it. I felt so bad about the fact that I was being told that my sheer laziness was ruining another's life, but I was soon distracted by this by something more important than self-punishment and discipline. I had to try and save someone else, and although that didn't work (and everyone who I was talking to via MSN and my friends can attest that I did my very VERY best and I did EVERYTHING I could for him) I was still reminded that I could at least do something.

Loves
Wendy xx

Keeping busy...

Our pups are such hard work, for us and for Patch, who has taken to them so well. Hope is a little monkey and has started Popcorning around the cage happily. When you see an animal this happy it really does warm the cockles of your heart, especially after a month like this. It's been so difficult just lately with finances being out of control, illnesses and the loss of a pet. It all seemed to hit us all at once and in our grief-stricken states we buried our heads in the sand, waiting for it all to go away, but life NEVER works that way.

So this morning I was all about RESOLUTIONS to our problems, be them with debts, personal and grief, rather than avoidance, which seems to be Steve's way of dealing with anything. Unfortunately no matter how much you ignore a problem or pretend its not there won't make it go away. To the contrary, it often makes it worse, which I keep trying to tell him this, but he doesn't listen and I would often wind up taking everything on myself and getting snowed under. Not anymore.

I spent hours today and yesterday negotiating with the people we owed money to, including our housing officer and the several companies whom I owed money from Credit Cards I had taken out in more secure times. Credit Cards, now there is a potential minefield, but we won't get in to that as it is neither constructive nor something I really wish to discuss, but I spent my time calling this number and that, setting up payment plans and working out solutions to our debts rather than ways in order to make them worse, I.E Loans or IVAs. By the end of this month, we will be not only up to date with everything, but back in a situation where we will be able to cope a lot easier with the financial constraints. It's been a good morning's work.

The pups are sleeping at the moment, after some carrot and lots of affection, Gizmo decided he wanted to use me as a comfy place to have a nap, while Hope was pestering Patch for a while. They were squeaking earlier too, which is a sound that really warms the cockles of my heart. It is a really happy place that we are in at the moment, even if there is a bittersweet feel whenever we think of the precious little life we lost. Our hearts are all healing and we're feeling better. There has been a number of poems that has helped us through the grieving for Alphonse. One of which really helped me as it reminded me that although the body had died, the soul lives on, and is in everything around us.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Mary E. Frye (1932)
Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 20 January 2011

New Additions...

Although we will never forget our Alphonse and no one will ever truly replace him and the memories we have, we are happy to say we have opened our hearts to 2 new guinea pig pups who needed a home, someone to love them and a bigger brother. These are Hope and Gizmo.

Hope is my little pup. He is nosy, cute and a bit of a rascal. If it is not supposed to be explored, Hope will be there, exploring as always. I named him Hope as he gives us a feeling of just that. Hope. With a face like that, you would think that butter wouldn't melt in that mouth and I don't think anyone could resist those eyes or that one floppy ear and that other one that stands up! Gives him that look of "What?"

Inquisitive and maybe a little naughty, but that is our Hope.

Then there is Gizmo, a tan coloured Rex. He loves us so much and will sit there watching us curiously or purring at everything he sees or hears. His particular like, is to burrow in to things, be them shirts, arm-pits or anything else that he sees is warm and dark.

So, now were being kept on our toes by these adorable little things, and they definitely went some of the way to helping our hearts heal at last, even though the process of grief can be long and painful, we at least have some new friends to keep an eye on, and we know that wherever he is, Alphonse would have been proud of his mum and dad this week, just as we are so proud of him. He was a fighter to the end, and was so loved by everyone who knew him.

Patch has coped wonderfully as well, he looks after his pups and mothers them. He licks them clean, makes sure they're OK. He makes such a lovely big brother.

Loves
Wendy xx

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Tribute to a cute and special little friend.

As my final way of saying goodbye to my little Alphonse, I wanted to share some of my favourite photos of him, from when he was a little pup, to just before his sad departure. Although he only lives for 18 months, he made a dent in our lives and anyone else who came in to contact with him. I thought this would be a good time to pay tribute to our Alphonse.

When we met, me and Steve were walking in to our local Pets At Home, it was a warm summer's day and we were looking at picking up a cage-mate for Patch, the tortoiseshell Rex I had adopted just 11 months before. As we rounded to the guinea pig enclosure, we could hear these 2 little piggies running around in circles. One was black with brown patches. The other was a black and white pig with the sweetest stripe down his nose and a look that said "Yeah, I'm gorgeous! But I will be a little shit!" We knew right away we wanted him. There is a joke in this story about how Steve got his 50p's worth. This was because I was 50p short at the time and he gave me his contribution. This was always a joke as we were always trying to work out what part of him 50p paid for! He lived his 1st night in this small hamster cage that we had, I know that sounds mean, but he was able to move around and he was comfortable until we could introduce him to Patch.

We were woken at 5 the next morning by the little guy squeaking for food and some fuss. He was a lively little thing.

Although we needn't have worried at all. Patch took to Alphonse like a duck to water, that night when I was taken ill I spent the following evening panicking as I had left Alphonse with Patch. I returned home and they were snuggled up together in the cage. They were thick as thieves ever since that point and one wouldn't be seen without the other. They really were like brothers.

Even as Summer turned to Autumn, their relationship grew more and more fantastic, and while I was facing my own demons, the two of them inspired me daily to carry on and keep getting stronger, both physically and emotionally.

Alphonse was growing up, and he was so inquisitive and full of life. Popcorning and chittering as he hopped around the room, often looking for things to either nibble or explore. He grew in to those massive eyes and ears and was starting to become a handsome creature.


He discovered a fondness for apples, banana skins and carrots. We actually reached a point where these couldn't be consumed in the flat without him squeaking and making a huge fuss. I was very sick myself by this point and spent most of my time sleeping. Patch and Alphonse were always there offering their love, support and comfort.

I was so thankful to have such special boys in my life and would often tell them this. And in their own way, they would reciprocate.

Life with Steve and the guinea pigs was so sweet and we hoped nothing would ever unseat us from this bliss.

The Christmas period came and went and although financially our Christmas was difficult, our little animals made it so much easier. Hugs don't cost a thing and we all really felt like a small family.

Then began 2010. It was a difficult year for many reasons, but Patch and Alphonse always made us smile when we felt careworn or just fed up of our situation. When I was signed off sick, I was then able to spend more time with my cherished piggies.

Alphonse was reaching maturity and he was just as playful and loving as he ever could be. Everytime I came home from anywhere, this little face would greet me. For such a small creature, his capacity for love was immense.

My favourite moment of 2010 was Christmas Eve, when I was preparing the sprouts and heard a chattering from the cage. I walked over and told them that they probably wouldn't like sprouts... Alphonse let out this massive "WHEEEEEEK!"

We laughed in to the small hours of Christmas morning. It was so funny as he used to peel off the leaves one by one and eat them, such a delicate little man.

He made us laugh so much.

He began 2011 as healthy and happy as any guinea pig could have been. Until that day when Steve's Dad had sent the kids round with some veg scraps. I don't actually think I said yes to them feeding something to the guinea pigs, as usually I would be very strict and would have washed it. When I saw the condition of the cabbage later, I was worried.

But by then, the damage was done. The cabbage was tainted with the deadly salmonella bacteria, from the kitchen at 118 Exhall Close. By the time it had incubated and Alphonse began to show any symptoms, it was already too late. The poor thing was so poorly. For nearly a week, I stayed with my pet and tried to nurse him back to health. By the time we went to bed on Monday, although the vet said he may not pull through, he seemed to be defying the odds.

This is the last picture of him, yes he wasn't looking as well as he could have been or had been in the past, but he was getting better. And we definitely didn't expect what happened next. All we knew was when Steve woke up on Tuesday morning, the poor little thing was lying there, crying in pain. The Vet suspects that his bowel perforated. Our little baby was in agony as his body was slowly poisoning him and we were powerless to stop it. Our brave little Alphonse clung on for 8 hours until his appointment. I didn't leave him for a moment and I did what I could to make him comfortable. It was at the Vets that I said that I didn't want him to suffer anymore, and we decided that, as crushing as it was, it would ultimately be kinder to have him put to sleep. The rest is history, as he nibbled my nose to say "goodbye".

Now you know Alphonse's story and how his life was cut so tragically short. All I ask now is that you (or anyone else) learn the lessons we had to learn the hard way:

1. Be careful about what you feed your pets. If you wouldn't eat it yourself, PLEASE don't feed it to your pet.

2. It is vital that ANY areas used to prepare food, especially if you prepare meat or other animal products or fish, are kept extremely clean. Salmonella can cause some vile symptoms and in a lot of cases, it can KILL.

3. Guinea pigs shouldn't eat cabbage. It can cause a fatal condition called Bloat. If in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT.

Loves
Wendy xx

With a heavy heart...

I write tonight with a heavy sadness in my heart. Yesterday, our brave little Alphonse lost his battle and passed away yesterday at the PDSA Vet Aid Hospital in Quinton. Understandably we are all heartbroken by this, he was such a wonderful and lively friend and was much loved by everyone he met. As hard as it was to walk away, I knew I had to so that he wouldn't be in so much pain anymore.


I watched you close your eyes,
I felt you slip away,
Although you meant the world to me,
I couldn’t make you stay.
Someone saw you getting tired,
A cure, not meant to be,
They lifted you up in their arms,
They whispered “Come with me.”
Although you departed from this life,
Your memories won’t fade away,
You took a piece of us with you,
When you left today.
Goodbye my sweet companion,
It’s time for you to run free,
But always I’ll remember you,
And the joy you gave to me.
I will be forever grateful,
To have had you in my life,
But for now my little darling,
It’s time to close your eyes.
To rid yourself of pain and fear,
Remember how we loved you dear.
Sleep with the angels, sweet one,
It’s time to rest your head.
Dream only of the nicest things,
As we lay you in your bed.
Look down from us from time to time,
Remember how you made us smile,
Even though we now feel sad,
We’ll always be your Mum and Dad.

We loved him so much and it has broken our hearts to say goodbye, in particular Patch who has lost his best friend. We have adopted two young pups by the name of Hope and Gizmo, they are beautiful boys and have such sweet and gentle temperaments. 

I will post photos soon

Loves
Wendy xx

Monday, 17 January 2011

I may not be religious...

But my Alphonse does need as much luck, good wishes and prayers as he can get. The news isn't looking too good, the Vet has doubts, as he has lost more weight and hadn't started eating for himself just yet. It is all riding on tomorrow's appointment. If there is no improvement then I need to make the toughest decision I think I ever could.

The sad reality is that we could really lose our little pig. If Alphonse hasn't started improving enough tomorrow, we will have to consider is all this really worth making such a sweet animal suffer. I think I would rather say goodbye and hold him as he goes than spend more time watching such a wonderful pet go downhill that bad. It is heartbreaking and I know it is really hurting him and I hate seeing him suffer like this. As much as it hurts, I would have to have him put to sleep.

I don't know if I am ready to say goodbye, but I love him WAY too much and I know I have to do whats right for my animal, even if it means heartbreak. This what love is, the willingness to let myself hurt so that something or someone that I love doesn't have to. Currently he is lying on the hay, dozing and getting some rest, although I think I managed to get 200-250ml of feed in to him, so thats a start.

It all rides on tomorrow.

Loves
Wendy xx

It all started with a letter...

I think further proof of my beliefs when it comes to the workings of fate. I had been thinking recently about my old Pen Pal, Jasper. I met Jasper many years ago when I used to go on the internet at Rising Brook High School, way back when I was in Year 10. So we're talking nearly 10 years ago now and as luck would have it, I received a letter from her. I was so happy and couldn't wait to scribble down a reply so after feeding Alphonse, who seems a little better today, I got to work.

So today has been in a word MANIC and it hasn't finished yet! I have to get Fonzie to the vet again for a follow up and a check over, I have made several phone calls today that have all turned up fruitful and found a new forum thanks to Wanda at AUK (www.theguineapigforum.co.uk) and found some time inbetween to have some lemon tea and a pot noodle...

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Unconditional

It is times like these that we realise just what we have in our lives. When you are sick, you feel abandoned and alone, and so isolated and useless to the rest of the world around you. When my guinea pig fell sick, I felt even worse because I was scared I would lose him and scared that this was all my fault. It was in this though that I really found clarification of what I want to do and what I am really here to do. I spent all weekend nursing that poor sickly creature, feeling the life drain from him, then return as I carried on, in spite of fears that he would die. When he managed a syringe and a half of feed (about 8ml) I was so happy I could have cried, but I realised, I am a nurse through and through. It is in my nature to care for someone or something and not give up until they pass away or they are better.

I believe in love that is unconditional. I went to a wedding recently and I heard the most beautiful verse, yes it was religious, but it was so true.

Corinthians 13

4Love is patient and love is kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;b 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never ends.

Again, I reference this as it is so very true. Love is what makes us come back, even when we are beaten down and unhappy. Love is what makes us angry when the other is being unpleasant as we look for the person we know they can be. Love never takes away without giving something in return, and love never forgets that the other one is always there.

I am one of those people who truly, TRULY believe that everything happens for a reason and we meet the people we do because they are the right ones to be in our lives. I have some amazing friends, most of which I would have never met had I never joined LPU or met Mike. The people in my life are my family and they share all the smiles, all the tears, all the pain and all those moments where you sit there and think "SHIT ME! Did we just do that?!" and all the times where you sit there and laugh because you probably got so drunk you can't even remember how you got there (a glance at Mat who ended up passed out in my bathroom, missing his shirt and phone, a rather large bruise on his hand and a broken toilet seat).

We learn from each other and everything we encounter. We fall down, pick ourselves back up and then move forward to the next stage, remembering all that we learned, good or bad. We remember the good times and probably have a good cry about the sad times as well. I know me and my friend Nathaniel have done a lot together and have always been there for each other, same as myself and Cat or Ant or any other of my closest friends. It is very true that many people walk in and out of our lives, but it is the friends who carried us when we couldn't walk, and we carried them when they couldn't, that really leave a mark on you. A footstep in your heart, as it were.

I want to move forward from all of this, I want to go on and do everything I can, and a few things that I probably thought I couldn't, knowing full well that I have people behind me to catch me if I mess up.

Loves
Wendy xx

Update...

Thanks to Martin, we managed to get Alphonse to the Vet Aid hospital in Oldbury (that was an interesting journey) where he was seen by a lovely vet. After a good examination, having his temp taken (poor thing was a little on the cold side, a sign his poor little body was starting to shut down) and a long chat, we found that our little piggie is suffering with a bowel infection. Luckily all he should need is some antibiotics, syringe feeding of some special food and plenty of love, affection and care. It does look optimistic, but it is thanks to our friends who have helped us through this.

In myself, I have been a bit on the tired side, but I have been way more invested in making sure my little one gets well again. My biggest worry at the moment will be my ESA assessment, although I have looked at the tariff of points, so hopefully they should see sense on how fragile my asthma can be. If not then I will be appealing and fighting this with every ounce of strength I have. I find the cutbacks that they are making, while most of which are a good idea and won't really cause too much trouble, but the idea of trying to get people like myself who cannot live a normal life due to illness to get in to dangerous jobs where their bodies would fail them is just vile.

I can't put in to words how thankful I am to groups like PDSA whose work runs entirely on donations from the public to help them. Without them, poor little Alphonse wouldn't be here now, they said if he hadn't been seen when he was, we would have almost definitely have lost him. I really do urge people to support groups like this whose only interest is to help the animals they treat.

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Poorly little piggie...

I know he is just my pet, but it is really sad when I see my poor little guinea pig feeling poorly. For the last few days, Alphonse was looking a little off colour and was really quiet, hardly eating and just sleeping. Looks like he had the runs over the last week from something he ate (probably the cabbage sent by Steve's Dad) and he is already starting to look a bit better and more able to have something to drink. Even so, he has an appointment with the vet on Wednesday so hopefully he'll make headway by then.

As for me, I'm just getting on with things, having my life made miserable by inconsiderate wasters and their music, and lungs that are trying my patience as well. I am exhausted and it has been such a tough week with the admissions, not getting as far in my recovery as I would have liked and the stresses of trying to find a new place, run the house and everything else in between. Made even harder by the fact I seem to be doing most of the work single handed. I understand Steve has his course and other priorities, but there really is so much one can do alone until exhaustion sets in and illness worsens.

I think the main thing I want, is to feel like I have a bit more of a choice and to have at least a little bit of let up for a little while, but alas, that is not to be. I know Steve can't really do an awful lot and is tired and crabby after his course, but I really do worry because if he could think I am not trying after all of this then what is trying anyway?

I mean, am I trying in all of this? Or is there more I can do? I don't know. I run around, cleaning and trying to sort out budgets, paying the bills and making sure that Steve gets enough each giro cycle so that he doesn't feel like he's losing out, but as I say, there is only so much I can do and £200 doesn't always stretch far enough. I do worry about things like losing our home, I do worry about admissions as I know they stress Steve out, and I DO try and forbear things and make the most of the fact I am not getting much rest when I need it.

Sorry for whining and complaining, I guess its been one of those weeks.

Loves
Wendy xx

Friday, 14 January 2011

On Ranting...

I notice that I do tend to rant a lot just lately. I guess sometimes a good rant about things, although they won't change the problems, makes me feel a little less annoyed about what is happening around me. I mean, after a good rant, I can then look back at what I had to say and I do admit there are times, reading back on previous posts, I laugh so hard that I have to have more nebs.

I have always been one to speak my mind and I think this is a positive thing. If not therapeutic, but this could be just me. It helps when I have a space to say the things that I wouldn't usually dare say anywhere else, as usually I can be one for backing down when I am around people due to nerves. I know this is a separate post right after the one I posted not 10 minutes before, but I guess I really wanted to express the way that a good rant can really make me feel better about a situation.

Just lately, I have found that my temper has been frayed easier and I have been more and more frustrated about things. As a result of this, when I lose it, I end up punching things just to relieve the tension in my head. As a result I keep cracking the bones in my hand, and nearly punching a hole through the wall, which everytime I look at right now, I keep bursting in to fits of giggles, there is something really funny about me losing it when it comes to next door and punching a hole in the wall. Bear in mind, I am only about 5 foot 6 and not exactly the biggest girl in the world, but I pack a punch.

Loves
Wendy xx

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Keeping it simple...

Is it me or are the simpler things always the nicest? I think just lately and after such a scary admission on Monday, I really have just taken stock of everything around me and looking at everything from a different angle. Normally by this stage of the week, I would frankly be really bored and grousing for something to do with my time. These last few days, I just took to relaxing to music, rediscovering bands and songs that I like, and I mean REALLY like. I think we take small things for granted as we forget that they are only there because we work for them.

I am still carrying my I Pod round with me, rather like a small child with a teddy bear, and every chance I get, I just seem to be either listening to my music or playing on the PSP. OK its been mainly on the X box as well just lately, but where I am on FF XIII you really have to grind the levels to get anywhere, which can get tedious and frustrating. I mean, I have walked around the same environments and beaten up the same monsters for the umpteenth time in the last few days, but as soon as my levels are maxed out completely and the weapons and accessories can't upgrade further, I will then look at fighting the rather ominous looking boss that seems to be looming at the end of the road.

I think that just lately, I have just been blowing off steam and venting my frustrations over everything. Waiting for something to happen. Unfortunately, I can,t keep waiting as I know in myself that there really isn't that much that can be done for me at the moment. Unless of course it is found that my sputum samples do grow something, and then they will treat for mild Bronchiectasis which would entail all kinds of prophylactic antibiotics and physio to help me clear my chest a bit more effectively. I have to email my consultant's secretary soon and make an appointment. I emailed him yesterday and told him everything that had been going on these last few weeks and he wants to see me, catch up and get everything back on track, I am on 40mg of Pred today and its getting on my nerves, but I have had this rant many times before.

Today, I managed to get out for a bit, Ant was off to Evesham for a spot of job hunting, and asked if I would like to go with him. I jumped at the chance to get out of here for a little bit, have some time for myself and get some space. At times being stuck at home when there really isn't an awful lot anyone can do about it can get more irritating than anything else. I think after a while the walls start to close in around you and all you really want is to just get out and escape for a little while. I do admit there are times I do miss my independence, where as before I used to come and go as I pleased and only had to worry about going to work, but I also realise that I can all to easily fall in to dispair and that wouldn't help anyone really.

Enough of my ramblings really, I hope you are all keeping well.

Loves
Wendy xx 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Taking a few days...

Sometimes when your feeling a little crappy and sorry for yourself, you just need to make some time for yourself. I guess thats what I have been trying to do today, watching some (for want of a better word) crappy TV, playing some video games (OK I need to lay off Oddworld at the moment as I had a dream that I was Abe's girlfriend... I have NO idea there) and resting up as best as possible.

Yes the picture is of my dream fella... OK I was a blue Mudoken so at least it wasn't inter-species, but yeah I was dreaming that my boyfriend was Abe... and we met when he saved me from an especially angry and aggressive Scrab (some sort of shrieking creature with teeth and a nasty temper) by possessing it so that I could climb up and escape. It was nice in a sort of disturbing way. Among my usual dreams involving Sephiroth and fighting monsters in Midgar. I am starting to worry about my sanity.

Today was spent just spent relaxing, playing on Dissidia and Final Fantasy XIII. Last night I found out THE coolest thing I have heard in a while. There is going to be a sequel to Dissidia... I CAN'T WAIT! It's only March so it isn't like waiting for the first one. I am a bit of a gaming nut but if I am honest, it is all I have to do during the day sometimes, other than running myself ragged, cleaning and then flopping in to bed with exhaustion.

I have recently acquired an I Pod (buying it from my friend Ant) and am currently smitten with it. The thing spends so much time in the pouch around my neck or in my hand, tucked in to the waistband of my PJs, or under my pillow. Its like all of a sudden I am joined at the hip... not that this is a bad thing. For the record... yes Ant, I did put Advent Children on there in the end... couldn't help myself, but lying in bed watching Cloud and Sephiroth go at it was in a word... AWESOME!! Just lately, its the simple pleasures that I am really taking in, I know that sounds corny, but it is just the simple things that make my life just a little more palatable.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Feeling a little better...

Its amazing the effect of having a good day, fabulous friends and just giving myself a little breathing space to recoup some energy and do what I want to do, rather than what everyone else wants me to do. Maybe all I need sometimes is just feel how I feel for a while rather than sweeping everything under the rug, as my mother would have taught me to do.I woke up this morning to JP being here in need of help, which was given as always, I would never begrudge a friend the help they deserve. He needed a working phone (i.e. a landline) to get in touch with his uncle to help him get to college. We sat for a bit chatting (well he sat, I kind of lay half curled up in bed) and sorted everything out.

Steve went out and after JP left, I set about trying to sort out a few other things. Getting my meds from the hospital (we left my pouch there by accident, but we have it back now), arranging that to be picked up. Then I set about getting in touch with Ant, he asked me to give him a bell when I got back last night, unfortunately at around half past midnight, all we were really interested in was getting some kind of sleep. After all the crying I did, my head was thumping and I was just fueling the fire and inflammation and making myself feel so much worse about things.

I do feel better though now. I feel as though the air has been cleared to some extent and Steve finally got to air how he was feeling and just get it all back in sync again. Turned out that he was wrong footed by the fact that even though he was put on medication as well, there was a part of him that kind of wanted me to become carer again, but we finally managed to work that out and work out whats best for both of us. Sometimes a bit of space can work wonders and can allow all parties to either burn it out, or cry it out, or just rant it out a bit to a third party.

My 3rd party today was Ant, hes such a good guy who I am very close with, he came round, made me tea and sat teaching me how to use my new (and his old) Ipod. He was great, helping me and I managed to get some rest. Just as he was leaving, Steve returned, my pouch in his bag. We have been generally happier today and more able to be around each other and me, well I felt better just to have some space to get my head together.

So after a day which was a little less intense, I am now feeling better and more ready to fight, OK so things aren't ever going to be the way they were, and I can't keep wishing for that and setting myself up for the fall when it all goes wrong, but what I can do is enjoy what I have now, and the way things can be, rather than what I wish they could be.

Loves
Wendy xx

Tears, Pain and Frustration...

Have you ever had everything build up on you so badly that you either want to scream, run away or cry until there are no tears left in the world. I guess last night I had one of those nights. I was wheezing, breathless, Steve was being an arse over some minor, petty grievances and I just couldn't cope. It was made 100 times harder when I was being rushed back in to the hospital for the second time in as many weeks. I'd never felt so defeated.

I don't even remember getting to the hospital. I remember wanting to go to sleep, Steve was ranting and arguing at me. I was scared. I was confused. What made it harder was the fact I was accused of not trying by Steve. How could he think I was not trying? There are days when I can't even walk a few feet, how am I supposed to run a household and care for someone else? I am glad he realised that I do try and I am putting in more effort in one day, than he can say for a lifetime, but I really don't want to get in to that now, nor do I fancy discussing having to explain why I was in tears to medical staff who were worried about me and what was happening to me.

My asthma is basically taking a large exception to the recent cold-snaps and the infections I keep getting so its been very twitchy and I have needed nebs and oxygen as my levels drop to some pretty serious and horrible levels. According to Steve, I was losing consciousness on several occasions, which would explain my exhaustion today. The doctor was good with me and she told me something important. It wasn't my fault and I was in the right place. Keep up my antibiotics and raise my pred a little to 50mg for a couple of days, 4 hourly nebs and get some rest and I would be OK before I knew it. I was allowed home and told to go right to bed and stay there for a few days. The problem was, I couldn't stop crying as I was upset about the whole situation at home.

I need to talk to my psych soon as I really feel that my mental problems and physical problems are winding each other up and the fact that I feel so defeated by the whole thing is not helping my mood. I think I just want a bit of normality and not medical drama around me for a while, and then I might begin to feel a bit better and less exhausted.

Loves
Wendy x

Monday, 10 January 2011

Some of my Toys

I thought today, it would be nice to show you some of my collectible toys that I have collected over the last few years. It is a bit of an open secret that I LOVE Final Fantasy 7 and the toys I have collected over the years are so amazing, I have my own little shrine to it. So I thought it would be nice to show some of my favorites off.

This is my shelf of Sephiroth toys. This is an old picture, as it doesn't have the new plushie which was brought for me by the lovely JP. 

But it does show my selection of Play Arts (FF7, FF7:AC and KH), my trading arts (given to me by Cat) and my Mini Trading arts who came all the way from Hong Kong, my Static Arts which is my most expensive (I paid £130 for it inc. customs and excise, would have paid nearly £200 at Forbidden Planet so that was a bargin). My Cold Cast Resin statue who was sold to me by a collector in the south of England, and my FF7:AC Sculpture Arts figurine. This one is lovely, but is part of a set so I need to get the Cloud part. When I brought it, part of the mounting was damaged, but some clever and inconspicuous repair work and you really can't tell. But still £30 for a figurine that would have cost £150 is not something to be sniffed at by all means.

 This is a closer pic of the Cold Cast and the Trading Arts figures. The cold Cast stands on the left, next to my Static Arts. He really is a fine figurine and I was impressed by how he looked.

Behind him stands my FF7:AC figure. He was my first ever Sephiroth toy and FF7 toy. He was a gift from Mike. Then is my Trading Arts and Mini Trading arts. The Trading arts is only about 7cm tall, where the Mini Trading Arts is only 3cm tall and VERY cute.
And this is my Static Arts figuine and the normal FF7 Play Arts figurine. The Static Arts is nearly a foot and a half tall but it really is a striking piece, especially when I have the fairy lights and lava lamps on. The see through swirls really come to life and its absolutely an amazing spectacle. He came from Japan, via a trader in LA. He took a while to arrive here, but I used the tracking ID and followed him all the way. I had to pay a little extra on Customs, but in honesty, I really didn't mind too much as it was worth it.

My FF7 Play arts is again, a lovely figurine and he came from Japan. I was away in Manchester at the time when he arrived, but when I got home I had a huge pile of parcels to open, including my swords and other things I had ordered.

My Collection began back in the winter of 2007. My great Nan had died suddenly and my then boyfriend had brought me a special present for my 20th birthday. He had got me a FF7: AC Sephiroth figurine. From the moment I saw him and got him out of his box, I was in love. My collection then was added to with a Cloud Strife, of the same series and the Mechanical Arts Kadaj Bike which I brought when I was out with Cat one day. I got one for her too.

In June 2008, I moved out of my parents place and from there, my collection just snowballed, and when I went back to college, I brought the rest of the FF7:AC range (apart from Tifa and Yuffie, who I can't get hold of at the moment) as well as the complete collection of FF7 Play Arts and the rest of the Mechanical Arts which consisted of Sister Ray (A large Canon) and the Fenrir Bike (as ridden by Cloud in FF7:AC). As well as the range of pieces from Art FX, which included Bahamut Sin and The Shera Airship from the film. Me and Steve both have a shadow creeper. Mine came from my friend Stacey and she (yes mine is a girl) is called Kali.

Along with the games (including 3 special editions), DVDs (both Special US edition and UK editions respectively), UMDs and soundtracks to all of them. I also have strategy guides for FF7, Crisis Core (I have the normal one and the Japanese one), Dissidia and FF XIII (the one I have for that was a find, a numbered special edition book, very cool) and toys from the Dissidia range. I recently got a plush cactuar from Steve's Dad from Christmas from FF XI

As before mentioned, I have 2 Sephiroth plush dolls. One I take everywhere with me and cuddle at night. Here is a picture of my Sephy, sat with James, a friend of mine's teddy bear. Both dolls look like this, except my cuddle one is a little grubby and raggy at the edges, but after 3 years of me mauling him in my sleep, I guess that is to be expected.

He came from China, and when I got him, I nearly went flying over the parcel!!
 
Anyway, I thought it would be rather nice to share some of my collection with you all and I hope you liked looking at them all and hearing some of the stories as to how I got them, as well as the story of how my collection and obsession began. I could work out the value of my collection, but to be honest, there wouldn't be enough money in the world for me to part with it as it is worth so much to me and the fact that FF7 has been there for me ever since I was that lonely child, to the adult woman I am today.

Loves
Wendy xx

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The wonders of Tramadol...

Last night was a bit of a rough night, my chest was agony (I mean really sore and I couldn't take a deep breath as it felt like someone had whacked me through a cheese grater), my temp was really high (38.7) and I was struggling again. Not good. So after about half an hour after we'd gone to sleep, Steve woke me up and got me on a neb, made me a hot chocolate and gave me a Covonia shot to help me bring up the gunk that has gathered in my lungs.

Then we went about settling the pain I was in, I had already had my Co - Codamol, so more Paracetamol or Codeine were out of the question, so we moved up to another 50mg of Tramadol. That did the trick and soon after I curled up and went to sleep quite contentedly and stayed there. Until my alarm at 10 went off to get me to take my morning round of pills, nebs and the rest of it.

I do feel a bit better after a nice long sleep and it was just what the doctor ordered really. So my mood is a little more elevated today as well which is a positive, for me at least. I want to set about doing some more missions on FF XIII, as yesterday I read in my shiny new book that if you use certain catalysts on weapons, you can get the ultimate weapons for your characters so that is what I aim to do today. Get the catalysts and make some really impressive weapons for Lightning and co. As well as give my dear friend Ant some presents that I have made for him. More on that later as they are surprises for him.

Also, I managed to fix my old 4GB MP3 player, it wasn't turning on as there was a file that was stopping it, I reset the device and formatted it and now it works happily again which is good because I used to have it in bed with me sometimes when I have trouble sleeping. That and if my lungs play up, I can take it with me to hospital and listen to music if I can't sleep. I usually take my laptop with me as well so I can watch films, chat on MSN (3 pay dongles are lifesavers) and generally pass the time while laying in bed and getting plenty of rest.

I do regret that I am falling asleep at the helm again, Tramadol makes me sleepy which right now is probably a good thing as I am not rushing around trying to look after everyone else.

Loves
Wendy xx

Saturday, 8 January 2011

This explains much...

OK so when is it that I will get the hint that if I am tired, disinterested and just generally not myself, then something is not right and be on the lookout for an admission and thats what happened last night. I was fine one minute, taking a nap. The next I was waking up in the back of an ambulance and my SPO2 had dropped to a scary 88%, I was woozy and wanted to go back to sleep. So I did, and I woke up about an hour later with oxygen flowing in to my nose via a nasal cannula.

But as soon as I had a combination of steroids, antibiotics, pain relief and 3 litres of oxygen, and I perked up within 2 hours and was a lot better and brighter. Within 4 hours, I was recovered enough to be considered for discharge, although the doctor was a little worried about me going home so soon and wondered if I should have stayed in. I talked him round and said that I would get a better nights sleep at home, in my own bed.

After a good sleep and some food, I was feeling better this morning, perhaps a little on the floppy side, but thats probably due to the enormous strain all this causes my body. Give it a week and I'll be fine, I'm sure.

On the housing front, we should be moving soon, as we have been told we can bid on properties and we bid on two today, one of which, we're 1st in the queue for, so fingers crossed we should be out of the YMCA in the next few months, or even weeks.

Loves

Wendy x

Friday, 7 January 2011

Another day... another round...

When you live with a chronic health problem, your life really does get turned upside down. I mean, your average 23 year old doesn't have to deal with taking lots of pills, inhalers or nebulisers really. I know I am by no means the worst out there, in fact far from it, but there are days when I feel a bit down about all the drugs I use in one day, and not by my own choice.

This morning, I woke up at about 10, I know that is a bit on the late side, but these last few days, I think I may have a chest infection as I am coughing up green muck and am generally not feeling well at all, so it could just be a URTI rather than an LRTI. But this could be wishful thinking.

I'm sorry this is just a short post, but I really am not feeling up to that much at the moment and will probably go back to sleep in a while, until I meet JP at Spoons a bit later.

Loves
Wendy x

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Interesting...

This is a recent hot topic on Asthma UK and its something that I do find interesting myself. The subject is, of course that of the use of nebuliser therapy in the domestic setting. I myself am on home nebs and know many people who also use this therapy at home. However this is a quality of life thing, as without my nebuliser, I am pretty much housebound and unable to do the smallest things for myself.

I borrowed this from the forum, it was posted by Koolkat on August 3rd 2010.

"The 2008 British Guideline no longer recommends nebulised therapy for the majority of asthma care. It cites evidence suggesting that a spacer and metered dose inhaler (MDI) combination can be as effective, if not more effective, in many situations in which nebulisers were formally used. This includes both acute and stable asthma.

A spacer plus MDI is to be preferred because of the following issues:.

•More effective treatment with fewer side-effects because of better pattern of deposition

•Problems of poor inhaler technique largely overcome but spacers need to be used properly too

•Easily used by children and the elderly (except those with weak or arthritic hands)

•As effective as a nebuliser in treatment of acute attacks but light, cheap, maintenance free, portable and available on prescription

•Useful for treatment of first attacks of wheezing in patients who have not used inhalers before

•Useful for administration of bronchodilator when testing reversibility in the surgery to establish the diagnosis of asthma

•Reduced prescribing costs by basing treatment on the much cheaper metered dose inhalers

There are few cases in which the British Guideline recommends nebuliser use. It initially states that there are insufficient data to make a recommendation about their use in life-threatening asthma. However, later the Guideline does recommend that the nebulised route (oxygen-driven) is used for the delivery of high-dose beta agonists in acute asthma with life threatening features. Nebulisers have however certainly been used in this situation to deliver high-dose inhaled drugs. If a nebuliser is used in the emergency situation, there are theoretical risks of oxygen desaturation whilst using air-driven compressors. Therefore nebulisers should be oxygen-driven with a "high flow regulator" fitted to the cylinder in order to provide the necessary flow rate of 6 l/min.

Nebulisers are less useful for domiciliary management of stable asthma, but patient preference should be taken into account, and some patients - especially those with brittle asthma - may have more confidence in nebulisers than in MDIs. Such patients require a verbal and written plan for self-treatment and it is essential that repeated use of the nebuliser does not lead to failure to seek medical help and the prompt use of steroids."

I read this and found it interesting and got on to Google to look up the British Thoracic Society and their guidelines for myself. I found that the biggest worry of using nebs at home is that sense of security that even I will admit can be dangerous and you can get complacent about seeking help and thinking that just a neb would fix all attacks. I know this isn't the case with all attacks. I have had them and needed use of IV Hydrocortisone, Magnesium or even other therapies like Oxygen overnight so that I can recover. It worries me at the moment as so many people are currently asking about how to obtain home nebs, even though they are currently on quite small amounts of treatment as they are.

I was told that a nebuliser would only be considered at home when other options were exhausted, and we went about trying the other methods and medicines to help me overcome this. For 6 months, I had to play guinea pig, becoming inflated by steroids, taking other medicines to manage the side effects of the ones I take for my asthma. Then theres the change of preventor and protector. We tried so many different things that I was feeling like a human test subject, but because we were trying so many things, it lead us to verify what exactly we were dealing with.

Maybe what I am thinking is that rather than people asking for further therapy to be thrown at their condition, maybe they would be best finding out what it is that made them so ill in the first place, or maybe I have gotten the wrong end of the stick, but I agree with doctors who worry about the security blanket that these things can become.

Hoping you all are keeping well.

Wendy x

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