It’s Good For What Ails Ya

I woke up with a crashing headache due to sinus pain today. This weather, wet and warm, humid, humid, humid, is not good for a person who can produce fourteen cubic metres of snot an hour, such as myself.

I’m sorry, but as my lovely blogging friend May used to say on her blog: too much information will definitely be shared. My sinuses give me almost as much grief as my periods, and when you figure in my mental health which is always precarious at best, it is fair to say that I am never entirely well.

I was feeling very sorry for myself today, because the weather has been like this for weeks now, and I have had two weeks of period related crap, with a week’s worth of cold and the sinus thing on top, and it makes me tired, and it makes me crave sugar and it makes me not want to do anything physical, and it’s been a bit of a spiral, frankly.

I did manage to talk myself out of the ‘your life sucks’, ‘you’ve probably got a brain tumour’, ‘you need to spend all day crying relentlessly on the sofa,’ and get on with things, so go team me. Pom poms aloft and all that.

I was talking to a lady about periods (she asked, OK?) earlier in the week, and she asked me how I managed to keep my sense of humour about it all, given that sometimes it’s all a bit grim and most days it’s there for me to deal with, and just something I have learned to live with.

It was an interesting question.

I thought about it a bit today when we went for a walk in the drizzling rain, because we made ourselves, because it is good for us, and we could buy coffee and walk to a book shop and back. That was also good for us.

Basically, as lots of elderly women and Les Dawson and Victoria Wood would say, whilst shifting their bosoms about their person: ‘It’s bein’ so cheerful ‘as keeps us goin”.

Here’s some of the stuff that keeps me going.

The sure and certain knowledge that life is short and I might not get to come back and do the things I missed. I might, but then I might get to do them as a Russian hamster, or a Tory, so you know, I need to do what I can in the body I’ve got right now. It may be a cliche, but it’s true. Please God don’t let me come back as a Tory.

I could spend my days giving in to what ails me and never doing anything, or I could thank Cheezus for the fact that a packet of paracetamol is about 16p and get on with things. Mostly, I get on with things. Drugs are my friend. I love them. Little matter that my handbag looks like a travelling pharmacy and I might be sorry about it when I’m 79. I shall be doing crack by then. It will be too late to worry about it.

My friends are also my friends, which is awesome. My family are also my friends which is even more awesome sauce. They love me, even when I am grey faced and insanely sharp tempered because everything hurts. They love me, even when I am crabbing around the house with a hot water bottle welded to my stomach/back/face/life. They make it ok, because they don’t really care that I am not a superwoman who can do everything. I’ve learned to ask for help, and they’re willing to help when I need it, and it makes me love them more. They are also really good at telling me that I do not have a brain tumour, that it’s ok to moan plangently like a whale (it is, in fact one of my more attractive qualities), and they like standing next to me in photos when I look like a freshly dug up corpse. Also they are very good at making me laugh. Special shout out here to Jason and the kids who, even when I am feeling insane and like I want to run away from my very own self, can still make me cry with laughter.

I know for a fact that whatever makes me feel grim, I do not have anything to complain about in the grand scheme of things. I’m not saying that my health is a ‘first world problem’. I’m not complaining that Waitrose has run out of my favourite hummus, or the fact that I have an unhealthy addiction to granola (I do. I really do). Having randomly awful periods, a uterus that is trying to kill me, weird migraine, revolting sinuses and a brain that can keep me awake panicking for no good reason is not terrific. But on the other hand, I don’t have cancer. My arms and legs work. I can function, mostly. I can see to read books, which is the best thing ever. I can eat cake, which is pretty up there too. There are people in much worse situations than me. I know some of them. I am inconvenienced by my health, or the lack thereof. I am not dying. My quality of life is pretty good. I’m winning. Mostly.

Stuff is just funny. Life is funny, and I have a pretty dark sense of humour. This means that I do laugh a lot, particularly when other people think there isn’t anything to laugh about. I am, thankfully, able to laugh at myself as much as everything else, and my perpetual addiction to the chaise longue of death (TM) is one of many things that can, occasionally, be very funny if you look at it the right way (slightly squinting with your head on one side). I cry a lot too, but I happen to think it’s very good for you. I have to say that, because I do it anyway, and it’s a really good reframing of something that makes me honk like a goose and my nose go all red and blotchy.

I can take comfort in the small things. Today for example, my sinuses hurt like a mother fucker, but on the other hand, I wore black and white stripy tights and silver eye liner and totally looked like a middle aged witch woman, and that pleased me. It made life more tolerable. As did finding two books on my Amazon wish list in the second hand book shop for £2 each, and eating an extra helping of granola when I was feeling particularly shitty. I also enjoyed watching the tortoise trying to climb into Tilly’s school bag, watching Parks & Recreation, and making kick ass, shakshouka.

On that note, food makes everything bearable. Sometimes, when I am deep in the throes of my womanish ways I take enormous joy in the fact that I can eat sausage and mash with onion gravy, or cut a piece of bread and slather it with an inch of salted butter, or eat six biscuits, or walk down the street eating steaming hot chips covered in salt, straight from the paper. I imagine how miserable it would be to be, say, Kate Moss, and be feeling like shit, but not being able to fall face first into a massive bag of chilli heatwave Doritos, and I feel that my life is a lot, lot better, despite not being able to get John Galliano to make my wedding dress.

I come from a long line of Boudicca style women who just get on with shit, regardless of what shit it is. I haven’t got time for giving up. I’ve got things to do. I like to moan like an absolute bastard while I’m doing them, but I’m damned if I’m not going to do them, even if it does take me a long time and a lot of swearing. Also, when you’re doing your thing regardless, you generally get to meet people, and see stuff, and go to places that sometimes make you forget yourself entirely, and before you know it you’re just enjoying yourself, despite yourself. Even if you do have to vomit in a lay-by on the way home, or change your clothes because you bled on them. Meh. Worse things happen in Leicester city on a Friday night clubbing and people survive it.

Also, the internet. You cannot possibly not be cheerful when you get to see footage of a snoring dormouse, or a hedgehog being tempted by a cube of cheese. You cannot possibly not laugh when you read about people’s worst ever school trips on Twitter, or repeatedly play weird gifs of Donald Trump’s head exploding, even if you’re feeling really, really poorly.

Who doesn’t love the thought of Donald Trump’s head exploding, even if you’re not poorly?




20 responses to “It’s Good For What Ails Ya

  1. Life can be shit. And glorious. often on the same day… and it’s still summer next week!

  2. Ooh, I hope you feel better soon! It’s amazing that you can be so coherent, funny and poignant even in the midst of sinus and migraine misery (I know whereof I speak).

  3. Hurrah for Getting On With Things! RAAAAHHHH! *fist bump*
    *quieter voice* Might mini-pill be of any use at all? It’s absolutely saved me a double hysterectomy.

    • I can’t get on with the pill. I just cry, and don’t want to have sex (and I like sex), and my boobs explode and I shout at people, and then cry some more. I wish I could take it. It would be absolutely wonderful, but I have tried about five times over the years and it never fails to turn me into even more of a loon than normal. Hoorah indeed for getting on with things though! xxx

  4. Just knew you were a kindred spirit. Migraines. Sudden onset of unexplained aches and pains. Panicky crap out of the blue. Crying jags. Thumping sinuses. (They all come and go; sometimes they linger longer, like an unwelcome visitor). And…Granola! Other Foodstuff list is slightly different. My favourite comfort food (turn away now if you’re feeling umpy-doodly) is a pile of hot buttery mashed potato with Heinz baked beans mixed in. Am down to my last bag of granola, must add to shopping list. I don’t much like M&S’s version. My current favourite is Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Glorious Oat Granola. Bit of a mouthful. But what a mouthful. x

  5. Hope you feel better soon & thank you for making me laugh despite everything. X

  6. Love and laughter are definitely the path forward. Currently wishing I knew how to have a proper nervous breakdown just to have a break from the pom poms, but all my blessings keep getting in the way.

    Re the girly bits, I used to have only one period every year or so, but when it came I had to wear a nappy for 10 days and for most of that time remain lying down on a plastic sheet whilst mainlining prescription painkillers. Didn’t get on with the pill or mini-pill (bled 365/365 as well as all the stuff you mention) and not keen on drugs anyway.

    Eventually found 4 back to back pregnancies a huge relief (only two made it into children but still). After that, someone suggested the Merina coil and it changed my life. Virtually no bleeding for 17 years now and no side effects. I totally love it.

    • Ha ha! Yes. Bloody pom poms. I looked into the mirena coil, but the hormone release bit is like the pill which doesn’t suit me, and the coil isn’t great if you’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, which I have. Ho hum.

  7. You are an amazing sweary Boudicca. I’m sure she swore a lot too. Swearing is great. So is acupuncture for period awfulness, at least it worked for me. As did cutting right back on dairy for sinus pain. Dairy in cake doesn’t count (official advice not my wishful thinking. I believe it came from the “don’t be so serious, life’s too short” school of thought).

  8. My heart goes out to you, I absolutely do know how you feel – although I am happy to say the whole period thing is now a distant memory (wish I could say the same about the sinus stuff).

    I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 21, hopefully research/treatment has advanced since those dim and distant days, but at the time they had only just recognised it was a thing and knew fuck all. I developed a cyst, which was allowed to grow to the size of a rugby ball, by the time I was rushed into hospital it had burst and I lost an ovary.
    There followed years of chronic pain, useless treatments, spells in hospital and increasingly doom laden predictions about my child bearing ability. As someone whose childhood ambition had been (feminists look away now) to get married and have babies, this took a heavy toll on my mental health as well – although I had realised by then that there was a bit more to life.

    When I discovered I was pregnant even the staff at the Samaritan’s Hospital for Women (where I was undergoing yet more tests) joined me for a quick dance in the corridor, despite the fact I had to go for scans every week initially to check said tests hadn’t damaged the baby.
    Apparently being pregnant is the best treatment going for endometriosis and I managed to get through the next few years, have another baby and sadly a couple of miscarriages, before all hell broke loose again.

    The decision on whether or not to have a hysterectomy was very much left up to me. I was undoubtedly eligible on medical grounds but the endless, excruciating periods, not to mention haemorrhaging about 5 pints of blood every month, amazingly is not life threatening. So they just made it an option whilst stating that they were pretty much out of ideas re treatments.
    I was 35 and it meant giving up the chance to have any more children, I can honestly say it was the hardest decision I have ever made. A part of me will always regret not trying one more time, but the rest of me is just so bloody relieved that I will never have to go through that nightmare again.

    Yes life does go on and of course we get through it whatever way we can, but you should not underestimate your bravery and resilience. Anyone who has experienced it first hand, knows just how debilitating it is and the toll it takes on you not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. If you want to wail like a banshee, eat your own body weight in cake, lie in a darkened room all day – whatever, go for it, your entitled.

    • You really think gynae stuff would have moved on, don’t you? Except that it’s about women, so what the hell! Your story is amazing and I understand it so well. In between having the three I’ve got I had five miscarriages and an ectopic, and it was tough going. Decisions were always difficult and emotion filled and getting through it was no picnic. xxx

  9. Just wondered if you had tried Mefanamic Acid for the period pain? My daughter found it really helps.

    • I have had to have it in the past, yes. Part of what makes me so difficult to treat is that my symptoms tend to cycle rather rapidly and I can be fine one month, terrible the next, flood one month, but have crippling pain and hardly any bleeding the next so I kind of have to treat as I find. It is really good though.

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