Doctors, Prescriptions, Copper Bowls and Anxieties Up the Wahzoo

Deep Breath.

Today was a whirlwind for me, something that I need to sort out in my mind.

This morning, I nearly cancelled the car hire a few times, thinking to postpone it until another day.  Why?  Because of the need to push the unfamiliar, the unknown away thinking that I will be able to deal with it better at another time.  This is critical for me to look at in the glaring light of discomfort.  I binge eat or drink a bit too much to do the same thing, postpone dealing with that which makes me squirm.  I had to literally force myself to go to the hospital in an unfamiliar town and see the doctor.  I reminded myself that if I didn’t, I would have to once again go through the squirmies, and why not just get it over with?

I have not seen this type of doctor in a long time and I was a little wide eyed about it because of that.  I knew I possibly had a condition that warranted a specialist, but at the same time, I did not want to know it.  It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it’s not exactly something one would wish to have.  Another condition of aging.

The driver for the car hire (in the UK a hackney cab can pick one up on the street, but a car hire is ordered in advance, they can only drive people about on a direct request) came promptly on time and was very kind and that helped me relax a bit.  He knew where to go, which building of the hospital and although I was a bit apprehensive to enter a hospital, I soon found the ward with the doctor I needed to see and checked in.  The doctor was amazing and really kind and did not treat me like a child nor made me feel like a number. He had a wonderful sense of humour and decided to make me learn how to pronounce a few Scottish words correctly. He really eased my anxiety in no time at all.  But the diagnosis was as I suspected and I was not happy about it at all.  Luckily it did not come as a shock.  I am to return in April for a follow up visit and he will determine at that time if a biopsy is needed.

Part of the anxiety is all the first times of learning how they do everything here and it is different in so many weird little ways.  At the GP, there is a screen in the waiting room where my name will appear and tell me what room to go to.  I have to find the GP’s room on my own. No nurse comes out to get me.  At the hospital, the doctor came to get me in the waiting room.  Both places, I am asked to undress and they stay in the room as I take my clothes off and put them back on. 

I  ended up needing a prescription, so let me mention how that works.  The specialist wrote up a hand written letter and stuck a bar code sticker on it and put it into an envelope and handed it to me.  He said to take it either to my GP or the chemist.  I stopped at the chemist after I got home and they said it had to go to my GP first and they would provide the medication.  I thought how odd, that the GP would dispense the medication.  I went to the GP and they took the letter and told me to come back after 3pm.  I came back at that time and it wasn’t ready.  They said to come back before 6pm.  I did, and they handed me a printout form for the medication.  By this time I was irritable and I had to take another deep breath or I was going to spout some displeasure at the roundabout I was going through.

I asked what was I do do with this (I was fairly sure it was to go to the chemist, but I wasn’t about to miss the mark late on a Friday).  The doctor stressed he wanted me on the medication as soon as possible.  So I angrily walked once more to the chemist and waited for them to fill it, but they did not have enough and I am to come back tomorrow for the rest.  I got a little piece of paper that says OWING NOTICE, which I guess is like an IOU.  I sure did miss the American way of the doctor phoning the medication directly to the pharmacy.  Sigh.  It literally took me all day to get this one appointment done.  But I was relieved when all was finally over. 

Even so, there was plenty of stress overload and I did pop into the shop and bought three rolls, a small tray of breadsticks, 6 chocolate chip cookies (bakery style) and a small bag of tortilla chips.  I ate two of the rolls, a few breadsticks and some of the tortilla chips.  I ate all of the cookies, felt overly full after downing two pots of tea and was about to hide the leftovers, when I decided not to.  No, I had a unnerving day and I am not going to change my binge behaviour as long as I continue to hide it.  I took another mega huge deep breath and prepared myself to tell husband about the money I took out for the car hire, the hospital visit, the diagnosis, the extra food I ate and be honest about all of it to prevent further stress.  I did tell him all, including the fears I experienced and it was an enormous sense of release.  He did not day a negative word about any of it, was comforting and low and behold, brought home chocolates and candy, his day was stressful too. 

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These were taken from my new mobile phone, wow, so crisp and clear compared to my regular camera!  This was one of the buildings at the Royal Alexandra Hospital that I went to today.  It was a nice mild day and I wished to take a walk amongst these trees, but I was waiting for the car hire.

Also, as I was waiting on the prescription to be filled, I popped into a charity shop and found a bowl I could not resist. I think it is a serving bowl, perhaps for an Indian restaurant, as it is copper on the outside and stainless steel on the inside, and there is an insulating space between the two layers. The bowl fits wonderfully in the hand, which is one thing I have missed about using the porringer, is that it has a rimmed bottom and is uncomfortable to hold and there is no heat protection, I have to place it on a mat sometimes to prevent marring the table.  In Hawaii, I ate from a round bottom stainless steel rice bowl that was insulated and I loved holding it and using chopsticks.  There is a connected feeling about eating out of hand, and as I held this copper bowl in the shop, I instantly felt an attachment to it.  It was £4, I shouldn’t have spent the money after the £20 I spent on car hire and the £3 I spent on junk foods, but I wanted it badly.  I have a thing for bowls, I know.

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Here it is compared to the pewter porringer.  I also grabbed the insulated Quantas Airlines mug I drank from for a year because it seemed to go well with the new shiny bowl.

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Fitting ever so nicely in the hand, I smiled to remember this feeling.  How nice to be able to eat hot or cold foods without feeling it in the hand. 

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Here you can see how round the bottom is.  It is heavy and well made, which is why I think it may be restaurant ware.

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Hard to see, but I filled the pewter porringer with water and dumped it in this bowl to check the volume.  This bowl does hold a bit more, I place the tip of the spoon handle at the water level.  About half an inch more to fill to the first rim.

I ate dinner from the pewter and plan on trying the copper bowl tomorrow at lunch time when I can use my chopsticks and eat away from the table, with the bowl in hand.  I am pretty excited about it!

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Rich Foods?

When I was a little girl, I can remember when an older person would make the comment, ‘’I can’t eat that anymore, it’s too rich and doesn’t agree with me’’.  I remember pondering over that and wondering why anyone would think that about food.  Just what was ‘’rich’’ food anyways? Didn’t make sense to me until now.  Now, when I am 57 years old.

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I am so sick. UGH.  Christmas foods have torn up my entire digestive system.

Good Things About this year’s Christmas Foods:

  • I did not bake cookies or desserts.
  • I did not make side dishes.
  • I did not crave any whisky after the bottle was opened.  A first.
  • We chose small packages of sweets and treats and kept to one serving.
  • We did not eat seconds of anything at a meal.

Not Good Things About this year’s Christmas foods:

  • Husband felt ill from the sweets.
  • I felt ill from the grains.
  • Foods we use to love hurt us physically.

Husband and I had a long talk this morning.  It was not very easy to admit defeat for either of us.  Husband felt he ate too many sweets (he had bought wine gums and liquorice)  I was in major gastric distress this morning as the grains that I cannot digest built up to the critical point and exploded.  Both of us knew this would be the potential consequence and thoroughly believed that moderation was the key.  This year, we did not succumb to debauchery, bingeing or over eating.  Yet, the very nature of the foods chosen with care all conspired against us, and our bodies are suffering today as though we had been on a bender.  Aging is the pits.

We both said in eerie harmony:

‘’I can’t eat that anymore, it’s too rich and doesn’t agree with me’’.

Has this not happened in some form or fashion, every single year?  Have we not all made loads of promises to never eat what we know will not agree with us ever again?  I am admitted angry at our deliberate restraint this year and had the same exact result as though there had been no restraint.  This meant dealing with aging issues when we are not wanting to.  I am angry I need to have these thoughts of negativity so soon after Christmas.  I am feeling sick, angry, frustrated and urgently feel the need to get back my wellbeing.

I really hate this.

Unbalanced but Not Unhinged

I really hate acknowledging that I am back here in the recovery period once again.  It feels like I am unbalanced and I need to find that equilibrium I feel comfort in.  At least I am not in the war zone, just on the outside edge of it. I do feel the carb muck though.  Damn it.

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Husband finished off the last of the Christmas goodies (the ones I had bought for family presents and could not afford to mail) last night and I was so relieved to know they were finally gone and our cupboard is healthy again.  He commented on the fact we can’t seem to leave anything in the house of this nature alone, but when I thought about it, it was not necessarily true.  This time around, we had those goodies for more than a day or two.  They lasted 12 days!  And as I mentioned yesterday, each day I ate a reasonable amount and not anything related to a binge.  Still, the carb muck has caused me illness once again.  I hate how this feels.

I have to be careful though before thinking I ought to pat myself on the back for keeping reason present, because this is the slippery slope of an eating disorder.  It is false illusions of grandeur.  I was heading straight to the hell pit, it was only a matter of time.  For those of us with disorder thinking about food, it is no different than an alcoholic having a bottle of wine and thinking they are in control because they used to drink 4 in one sitting.  I was not having 2 biscuits with tea, I was having 6 and that deludes me into thinking I am eating normally.

It’s a self depreciating joke, thinking we are cured of the desire for excess just because we exercised a modicum of control in one particular moment.  Those moments do shift and change in circumstances.  The next moment may open the gapping hole wider and another bottle is reached for and we drown ourselves trying to fill the hole that cannot be filled.  Whether food or booze or drugs, we will never have more than a modicum of control and it cannot last forever.  Addiction doesn’t happen to just vanish over night no matter how badly we want it to.  It is always present within.  Always there waiting for another chance to bring us back to the hell hole of excess.  The only thing we can control 100% is not taking the first bite, sip or hit of the substance that takes us down that path.

But changes are happening.  I am routinely experiencing a delay between the urge and the consumption which helps me chose to stop before consuming.  There is a longer process to the point of an actual binge.  The pleasure factor is no longer present, not even slightly.  That lure is broken.  I certainly cannot consume what I use to be able to (thank you porringer for that!).  That is definitely a life saver for me right now.  I get sick sooner and on smaller amounts.  But I also know that it is a matter of time before I slip back into the ability to consume larger and more frequent quantities.  I am quicker to respond to the need to return to feeling better than ever before, but I understand that I will never be cured. 

I am also returning to managed eating without dieting even those I still fight the intense urge to fix my problem with a weight loss diet.  I caught myself considering whether to use my diet software again when I was checking my overall balance of food intake yesterday.  I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that once I know the general intake amounts, I have an idea of where I am at with nutrients and I can then proceed from there.  I do not need to monitor every bite, weigh every morsel because I eat the same foods and the same amounts every day.  Changing up the meat or the veggies will not matter.  Too much reliance on numbers makes for disordered thinking about food.  Been there millions of times, I know where it leads.

I expect this recovery period to take about 2 weeks, or basically to the end of the year.  While this is about the most difficult time of year to manage eating, I think with a few wise selections I can be perfectly happy with the season’s offerings and not set up my other nemesis, deprivation.  We have no parties to attend to, we have no family dinners to deal with, we are just home alone and I can provide good healthy meals and we can limit the treats to the Irish whisky’s and I plan on making marzipan pigs for the rice porridge gifts (our Danish tradition).  In the meantime, it is back to managed eating.

Shame and Guilt

Friday’s meals:
Porringer 1- 1 eggs, 2 rashers
Porringer 2- few slices of German salami
1 bottle of port + 1 tray of caramel squares (all vomited)

Saturday’s Meals:
Porringer 1- 2 eggs, 1 rasher, pot of tea
Porringer 2- soup: chicken, broth, carrot, turnip
Porringer 3- soup: chicken, broth, carrot, turnip
Porringer 4- 3 cumberland sausages, curry sauce
2 cups coffee with double cream, 2 or 3 more pots of tea
4 quarter cuts oatcakes with butter and cheddar cheese

I am writing this on Sunday, so I have had time to reflect and sort it.  Friday fell to pieces in a way that I am quite ashamed to admit to.  I am going to go ahead and be honest and reveal the way the mind and body falls apart topped off with the consequences of emotional immaturity and how they all collide.  Don’t expect a resolution, I have none.

Friday morning started out light hearted and well.  I had my Christmas boxes ready, I had baked three more loaves of rye bread for husband’s Christmas party and off the to the post off I went.  I felt good, the air was brilliantly cold and crisp, I still had the beloved Christmas tunes playing in my head from wrapping and packing.  Then the tons of bricks began to rain all over me.

The package to my daughter and grandchildren was over 2kg by 500g and would cost £65 to mail.  The package to my parents, was 100g over 2kg and would cost nearly the same, the birthday present of 3 paperback books to my grandson was £9.  I was devastated.  That was well over £100 (160 dollars) to mail goddamn biscuits and books.  It was insane.  I was told that if I could get the packages under 2kg the price would drop significantly.  So I went back home, angry as hell and carefully used a razor blade to open the ends and take some packets out.  Back to the post office and it was now down to a total £70.  On our single income, we cannot afford it, not for biscuits.  I came home with my packages and fell into a slump of tears and anger.  Because of our move, my daughter’s move and all the chaos, I have not been able to send any presents this year and was so looking forward to at least giving a token treat for Christmas.  I had no idea how expensive it was going to be or I wouldn’t have bought the gifts to begin with.  In the US, size is more important than weight.  Here, weight is costly.

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I cried the entire time I put the gift packages in the cupboard, thinking at least it was edible and not toys, but neither of us need this kind of food around.  I was so upset that I went and grabbed the bottle of port I had been saving since October and poured a glass with the intention of calming down and getting a bit of a grip.  What I failed to pay attention to was that I had not eaten lunch and had nothing in my stomach.  I poured another one, sobbed some more and suddenly the whole bottle was empty and I realized it was hitting me hard and fast. 

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I grabbed one of the treats from the cupboard and ate that to hopefully absorb some of the alcohol and I promptly became violently sick.  I mean violently.  The bathroom appeared as though a murder was committed with all that red port splattered everywhere.  I was sicker than I recall ever being while drinking.  I cleaned up what I could and stumbled into bed, knowing I was going to have to explain it all to husband and just desperately wanting it all to stop. My head was spinning, my gits were churning and I was feeling guilty that dinner was not getting made for my husband.

When he came home he saw the splattered bathroom rug, saw me in bed and asked what was wrong.  I told him he would have to find dinner for himself and I would explain later.  I was so sick I could not lift my head from the pillow.  He went and got fish and chips and came to bed by 8pm.  I slept and had to get up to vomit a few times more during the night.  Husband came to talk to me and see if there was anything he could do to help me by 8am.  We talked about the postage thing and I admitted my drinking the whole bottle and getting sick and he was very gentle and understanding which helped me with my deep guilt.  Poor guy didn’t get his usual hot breakfast either.  This is the first time in 9 years of marriage that I wasn’t up to fixing him a meal.

I felt well enough (hangover = throbbing headache and queasiness) to take a shower and make some chicken soup Saturday morning.  I knew I was going to need it.  I first drank a pot of tea, got down a couple of eggs and 1 rasher, then a few hours later, had a bowl of chicken soup.  By afternoon, I felt so much better.  Husband left for his Christmas party and I made sausages for my dinner.  I was still really concerned about my body’s reaction and more concerned that it took a relatively benign incident to set the whole stupid incident in motion.  The sickness, the hangover and now the side pain from vomiting was all seemingly over the top and out of proportion.  When younger, I have eaten and drank far more and not gotten that sick.  Or perhaps I am so far away from those days, I have forgotten.

Soon it was mid Saturday afternoon, I was settled, feeling better, knitting and watching films while husband was at his party. 

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My father called.  My father never calls me directly unless it is to reprimand me (far in the past) or to tell me bad news.  My grandmother (his mother) died on Friday night.  So I talked to my parents for awhile, feeling utterly numb and distant.  All of my grandparents are now gone, my parents are now the oldest family members and I just don’t know what to think or feel.  I was emotionally and physically spent from the Christmas present episode which now makes me feel shame that I allowed it to become so huge that I am strangely not crying over my grandmother.  If I were to get drunk over anything, it should have been my grandmother’s passing, not biscuits.  Husband came home about 8pm from his party in such a good mood, slightly tipsy and happy, that I did not tell him about Grams until this morning.  No sense popping his bubble, he so rarely has a chance to be out and about socially.

So…what the hell happened?  I could not send my gifts out to my family, a family member dies and I am sitting here on the other side of the world and cannot put together the words that need to be expressed because I do not know what they are.  As close as I can come to understanding it, is to openly admit the shame in reacting so childishly to what I have to accept is the reality of separations and the passage of time.  I cannot afford to send gifts, I cannot afford to return for a funeral and I am so fully aware that I have no clue as to when I will see my daughter or grandchildren again.  This all ties in with the guilt of my not being employed, with my husband having to work to support us when he wants to be retired, and every thing that can be tainted with my selfishness and self importance.

I am also besieged with huge reality checks about my own aging.  I can easily drink a bottle of wine or port without getting drunk (or perhaps not anymore!).  I don’t quite know what happened on Friday.  Husband thinks it was the emotional whiplash that probably had me drinking too fast and too much too soon.  Having been in ketosis many times before, I do know that drinking is felt far more than when not in ketosis.  I know that a sudden high dose of sugar can make me sick, so I may have had an insulin surge that was ignited by the emotions and alcohol.  The hormonal loops of a middle-aged woman wrecking havoc.  I sit here on Sunday morning realizing that all of this was pointless, stupid and reminding me of the necessity of continuing my journey with permanent change to my hedonistic consumption and how I deal with the lumps and bumps in life.  Aren’t I getting too old to be acting like this?

Off Monday

Not a good start to the day and I am confounded as to why.  Lower back ache, arthritic hip, unknown exhaustion and a queasiness.  This brings on irritation.  I strongly felt it this morning while husband made all his usual loud noises and it was grating on my nerves.  One moment I felt I was going to snap, the next he’s leaving out the door and I feel like holding him and not letting go.

Yesterday’s meals:
Porringer 1- 2 eggs, 2 rashers
Porringer 2- plain whole fat yogurt
Porringer 3- curry: chicken breast, carrot, onion, tikka masala paste, coconut milk, parsley, fresh basil

Yesterday’s drinks:
3 pots of tea
1 glass of wine
4 cups of coffee with 2 tsp. double cream in each

I finished up a knitting project and did some ironing, made a loaf of bread and about keeled over in massive exhaustion.  I had to lay down and sleep for an hour and that didn’t revive me at all and I fell into a very deep sleep.  I hope being out last Saturday night isn’t bringing on another illness.  Here is the town hall and the Christmas tree.

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Santa was there too!

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Here is the back of the town hall from our window on a foggy morning.

We had the local lighting of the town Christmas tree and the fabulous fireworks display over the town hall.  We live right behind the town hall and now realise that we could have just watch from our window or stand outside our door to see them, which we will definitely do next year.  But this time we herded with most of the town’s people to the high street area and it took 45 minutes for the fireworks and tree lighting to start.  We were freezing in the bitter cold and were prevented from returning home as the whole area was blocked to keep anyone from getting hurt with the fireworks fallout.  With heavy coat, gloves and a scarf, I was shivering and my toes and fingers got numb.  It was unpleasant standing and waiting, as this was our first year doing this, we did not know what to expect.  The tree lighting was unimpressive, the fireworks were fabulous, unlike any I had ever seen in America.  Well done!  But perhaps I am getting another cold out of it, otherwise I cannot figure out why I feel so knocked down.

Let’s see, I am on the 13th day away from my last binge.  I should be feeling terrific.  This not feeling good makes me think that something is wrong with something.  Either my body or my food intake needs attention.  I want to keep changes to a minimum so that I can tell what is what with all this I am trying to accomplish.  My intention in November was just to get back into eating full time out of the porringer and away from bingeing.  I am very proud that the only binge I had this month was on my birthday.  Wow, if I make it to Saturday, I will be able to say it was only once in the whole month!  I am a bit excited to wonder if I can do it all of next month too.

So no food changes until next month.  I will weigh in on Saturday, the first of the new month and make the goal for December at that time.  As I am trying to do with my knitting, stay with one thing until completed, I want to do the same with this permanent change over in my eating.  Otherwise I will not really know what is working and what is not.