Author Archives: 50diary

Back Inside Our Homes

Lockdown 3.0 has taken effect. The Government says that the current rate of Covid-19 infection is worse than the first peak, which I can readily believe. The news is grim with this new variation which is 50% – 70% more transmissible than the original strain. Deaths are going to rise. What awful suffering is out there, unseen, unknown to us, who are battling away with kids in our living rooms as we try and get them to concentrate on their online lessons.

For the last three days I’ve had a dry, tickly cough and I feel ever so slightly chesty – like a minor version of the symptoms I had back in April 2019. The kids and I feel as if we have mild colds. I’ve ordered a Covid test which is being collect by courier on Friday (I ordered the test yesterday, Monday). It was the earliest they could do. I expect I’ll be feeling fine by then and won’t have any symptoms, so STILL won’t know whether I’ve had Covid, twice.

I have one child upstairs on her laptop doing geography and the other downstairs coughing away doing history. They’re both finding sitting in a chair all day long staring at a screen very challenging. Isn’t that what adults do at work? These are eleven-year-old children. I want them to be outside running free with their friends, playing games, and having fun. But this is 2021. We don’t have any friends. It’s the depths of winter and it’s FREEZING outside.

But this shall pass!! Signs of spring will emerge in a month or two.

Meanwhile, there’s comfort food.

Happy New Year. SIGH.

It’s January 2021. We are way into the future and China has unleashed a whole load of hell into the world with Covid-19. We’re all still social distancing like mad, washing our hands, wearing masks, going nowhere, doing nothing, getting fat and lonely. No holidays, no hugs with friends, no eating in restaurants or going out dancing. We’re not even popping out for a cup of tea in a café. It’s a shitty life and I don’t see how it can change any time soon what with the new, ultra-transmissible mutation of the virus in rampant circulation.

But there is hope. Vaccines are being given. Snowdrop shoots are peeping out of the muddy grass, and I’ve bought a new armchair and sofa bed on a 0% finance deal from DFS. You’ve got to take happiness where you can get it. Plus:-

  • The children are healthy
  • I am healthy
  • We have a happy, loving family
  • My parents are healthy
  • The Christmas lights are still up and cheery
  • We have lots of nice food to eat
  • I am reading ‘The Hobbit’ to the kids every day and they love it
  • We are safe in our homes
  • Netflix, iPlayer, mobile phones, online gaming. Thank God.

Ocular Migraine

I think I’ve just had an ocular migraine for the first time in my life. Here’s what happened:

A small smear appeared in my vision, like a tiny thumb-print on a pane of glass, which then started slowly expanding. Wherever I looked, it was there to the left side of my vision, but I had the impression it originated in the centre (and moved away every time I tried to look at it). Then it developed flashing rainbow edges, very bright and jagged, which expanded outwards more and more, until, after about 10 or 15 minutes it disappeared. I got the impression it expanded so far that it went outside my field of vision.

It was terrifying. I thought I might be about to have a stroke! But later, when I texted my friend and happened to mention it, she was able to tell me what it was straight away. It’s migraine with aura. And this is the aura. Migraines I’ve had for years and years, but this vision disturbance is brand new to me.

My friend also told me I shouldn’t be on oestrogen HRT if I have aura because there is an increased risk of stroke. All I can say is thank God I’m already almost weaned off the HRT. I’m just doing half a pump of Estradiol gel now (and taking progesterone tablets to protect my womb). I can’t wait to be off all this artificial hormone stuff and go back to my natural state. Hot flushes are far preferable to strokes.

Basically, It’s Lockdown 3.0

Our area is now in Tier 4, a newly created extra strict Covid safety tier that means there is a stay-at-home order, and we can only meet one other person, outside. Christmas is cancelled. The new mutated version of Covid-19 is up to 70% more contagious than the first, which is very alarming, so I accept we need to follow the rules and keep safe.

We are now living in Narnia. An everlasting winter has descended. To keep our spirits up and get us through the festive season we’re going to pull together as a family, stay inside, watch films, and play board games. I’ll order our groceries online and we’ll go for one walk or bike ride per day. I’ve bought a skipping rope too, so I’ll be popping into the back garden to get my heart rate up, hopefully once a day. I’m organised. I’m prepared. We can do this.

Menopause Discomfort (50 excerpt)

Another major issue I have to contend with at the age of fifty is the menopause. My poor body is so confused. The other day I went outside to admire the natural wildlife meadow that is my back garden, when I sneezed and slightly wet myself. Sometimes I put on a jumper because I’m feeling cold then immediately break out into an intense sweat all over my body – I’m cold enough to need a jumper, then literally one second later so hot I can barely stand to be just in my bare skin!

The menopause is a constant irritation, a battleground of extreme temperatures, a never-ending reminder of my stage of life and bodily misfortune. I never feel comfortable. I’m twitchy all the time with a niggling, perpetual aggravation, whatever I’m doing, wherever I am. If I’m not sweating and wetting myself, my back is aching, my knees and hips are giving way, or I have a hideous, painful migraine. And I’m rapidly putting on weight in the middle of my body.

Recently, I got so fed up with all this, that I made a doctor’s appointment to try hormone replacement therapy, hoping that perhaps it’ll stabilise the migraines and sweating. I’d try most things if there was a chance of living without this continual discomfort.

I thought I’d use natural remedies as well, alongside the medical solution, so I did some research into the most helpful supplements to take. Apparently all of these can all help:

  1. Black cohosh
  2. Vitamin B6
  3. Sage leaf
  4. Oil of Evening Primrose (for omega 6)
  5. Fish oil (for Omega 3 to balance out the omega 6s)

It’s Mutated!

Horrible news. The virus as mutated – a new variant has been identified – and infections are increasing exponentially in my area. It’s awful. Back to being terrified again after all the hope the development of the vaccine brought. Now there are only questions:

  • how has it mutated?
  • is it more infectious?
  • is it more dangerous?
  • will the vaccine still work?
  • if you’ve had one vaccine for one strain of virus, can you have another vaccine for another strain?

It looks as if it’s going to be a very quiet Christmas. Perhaps just us three in the house, seeing no-one, going nowhere. How frustrating. The kids are going to be irreversibly addicted to their screens! I suppose it’s a small price to pay. We all need to be super careful from now on. Just in case…

It’ll be so nice when, one of these days, we can stop living in fear.

Birds (50 excerpt)

The osprey nest in the Highlands of Scotland continues to thrive. The father catches and delivers copious amounts of fish for his wife and three babies. The chicks are now over a month old and have mostly lost their down and gained their pin feathers. They’re tentatively stretching and, on occasion, flapping their prototype wings. It’s such a happy family. The mother still broods them if the weather is bad, but they’re really far too big to all fit underneath her now. Sometimes they just manage to get their heads under her body leaving the rest of them sticking out in the rain. My insider knowledge of the Scottish nest helps me imagine what’s going on with my resident blackbird pair, who are currently raising their second brood in a bush right next to the house. I watched in delight as both parents brought worms and food to the nest in April, and now I have the pleasure of watching again as they bring up their second lot, mid-June. I can clearly hear the cries of the chicks. There must be three or more. The nice thing about it is that the father blackbird and I have reached an understanding. Every time a magpie comes close he releases a loud alarm call which I always hear since our back door and windows are permanently open, and I immediately rush outside and clap my hands. For some reason this terrifies the magpie but not the blackbird, who doesn’t even blink and stays exactly where he is. We exchange a knowing glance and stand for a few seconds in mutual satisfaction — he on a branch, me on the grass — before I go back inside and he resumes his business collecting worms and defending his territory. Sometimes he sings a beautiful, varied song which totally delights my soul and I stop still and listen in rapt attention. I try and get the kids to pay attention and listen too… but that’s a rare victory. They’re usually glued to their screens, headphones on, unwilling to even press the pause button.

Trees (50 excerpt)

Today, as we walked along a river in the evening sunshine, I realised that the older I become the more fanatical I am about nature and beauty. I complain loudly every time I walk past a tree that’s been pollarded or ‘severed’ as I like to call it. It pains me to see how humans are always seemingly randomly hewing off tree branches, denuding and emasculating them, turning them from magnificent, sweeping, tangled structures into stubby, frilly amputated shapes unnatural in every way. It disgusts me. My eye longs for thick trunks to swell upwards and outwards narrowing gracefully into twisting squiggles, ever smaller and thinner until they naturally end in a leaf. Instead, we find thick trunks callously sliced off, and sprouting out of them like nasty, pathetic hair, lots of thin, leggy twigs where proud branches used to be.

“UGLY!” I’ll shout as I walk by, scowling and staring. “THAT’S THE UGLIEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN.”

My children don’t flinch in embarrassment yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long. Out of respect for them I’m trying to hold in my comments, but occasionally they blurt out, such as this evening when we came upon a once beautiful weeping willow that now looked like a human hand with five fingers, stumpy, stubbed, bare, and subjugated. No leaf or bud, no light green shoot, nothing. It looked like a dead thing. And this is spring!

I honestly can’t find enough words to express my outrage at this human interference, no doubt carried out solely for the reason of saving money, in case in the distant future an aging branch just so happened to fall on someone’s car and the owner sued the council (or whoever owns the land we walked on).

The Beginning of the End?

Yesterday was a big day. The UK became the fist country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for widespread use. People will be getting the jab from next week. The first to receive it will be those in the extremely vulnerable categories, the elderly and health care workers (which will even include me due to my work volunteering for Macmillan). I must privately admit to being a little apprehensive, if I’m being totally honest. I know the vaccine is not made of a live virus so there’s no possibility of me getting Covid-19, it’s not that that worries me. It’s more the fact that it’s been developed and approved so very quickly and that it is an RNA vaccine – a type of vaccine which has never been done before. I feel apprehensive about it, as I think many people do, because once it’s in, it’s in, and there’s no going back. I’m worried about side effects. But then again, the side effects from catching the virus and possibly getting Long Covid are said to be far, far more unpleasant than any possible side effects from having the vaccine.

Today, three ex-Presidents of the United States of America have pledged to have their vaccination jab live on television (Obama, Bush, and Clinton). In this particular case, we do want to see our leaders go first. I think it will reassure us.

Meanwhile the UK has come out of Lockdown 2.0 and into a new, stricter three tier system. My area is in Tier 2 (High). Restrictions apply, but shops are open. I will test this by buying a pair of new winter boots tomorrow.

Utrogestan

Utrogestan is a medication women take when they use HRT. I have just started taking it five days ago because my mirena coil has gone a year-and-a-half past its sell-by date and I’m on estradiol HRT. I’ve decided to reduce my HRT with the goal of stopping it completely. But I have to wean off it gradually, over 2-4 months. If you stop suddenly and go cold turkey you could get an overnight menopause with severe symptoms.

My HRT consists of taking oestrogen gel and a progesterone tablet. You have to have the progesterone tablet if you take oestrogen because if you don’t, the lining of your womb can be damaged. Utrogestan is a body identical manufactured hormone so it’s pretty good, but there is a major side effect. About twenty minutes after taking it, you feel extremely sedated, like you’ve been drugged. It’s hard to get up and walk. You feel dizzy and your eyes want to close. Your body wants to fall to the floor and sleep. This is very strong for about 15 minutes but then slowly wears off over the next hour.

At the moment I’m undecided whether I can cope with this every evening for 2 months. I’m desperate to come of my HRT but I have to take it slowly, which means using the utrogestan for a while. It’s a daunting prospect. But perhaps this effect will lessen over time. I’ll let you know. If I forget, remind me! ***

But the main point of this post was to let other women know that the dizzy, soporific, druggy effect they feel after taking progesterone is normal, and caused by the fact that you have to take a high dose in order for it to make its way through your system to your womb before it’s all digested. There are other methods for getting progesterone into your system so if you don’t feel a reduction in the sedation you could speak to your doctor about this.

*** UPDATE Yes, the effect not only lessons over time it doesn’t happen at all. I only experienced the sedative effect about 2 or 3 times and then never again.

*** ANOTHER UPDATE From time to time, I still get the effect of suddenly being very drunk/drugged/sleepy for 20 minutes. I’m wondering whether, to prevent this, the utrogestan pill must be taken at the same time as applying the estradiol.