I’ve just come back from my six-monthly visit to my Rheumatologist in Dublin and am still exhausted ! Pat and I went up on the train because I get free train travel for me and my ‘carer’ and rather rashly, I decided to do the whole trip up and back in one day!   Going up meant having to get up at 5.30am and it is a 3 hour journey to Dublin on a reasonably comfortable train – that is, it would have been if I did not have a very large person sitting next to me squashing me against the window !
The visit to the doctor went fine and she was well pleased with my lack of inflammation, so feeling full of good cheer we went and had a long chatty lunch with an old schoolfriend of mine and her husband. Two glasses of wine later came the time to get in the cab to go back to the station and, ignoring Pat’s advice to sit in the front, I got stuck half in and half out of the back of the taxi !  Never mind, two stout men to push and pull me and out I popped to sit feeling very foolish in the front. Memo to self: Take note of what Husband is saying in future !
By the time we got home I was exhausted and that Perfect Husband of mine was saying “I told you we should stop the night in Dublin” but I was too tired and sore to care and it’s taken another two days to get myself back to Square One !
On the way back down I was contemplating to myself ways to save energy – some of which I already do and some of which I really should do, so my Blog this week is all about ways to avoid feeling so exhausted.
– Food shop on line. This must be possible for all of you, because here in the remoter parts of the South West of Ireland, even I can do this. Keep a running list of groceries and order at the end of the week. Not only (for a few euros) will they deliver, but they carry it all into the kitchen for me, so no more having to haul heavy bags.
– You can also shop on line for gifts or gift vouchers for your relatives, saving the need to trudge around the shops getting more and more cross and exhausted. I pride myself on being a canny on line shopper and even got a heated cat basket for my rescue cat the other day !
– Line the bottom of your oven with one of those brilliant nonstick oven sheets that you can cut to size and rinse under the tap. This is especially useful if you can’t bend down far enough to wipe up spills !
– Cut back on ironing by spraying creased items with water and then pop them back in the tumble drier.  I never iron on principle.  If my husband wants an ironed shirt, he has to do it himself !
– Only ever clean one room a day. Set a timer for 30 minutes and when it rings, stop. If you haven’t finished, do it the next day. After all, who is going to inspect it ? I often worry that my kitchen/hall/livingroom are not tidy enough and have to remind myself sternly that it really doesn’t matter.  But then I am lucky to have my ‘secret weapon’ Pat who thinks housework is ‘fun’ – Yes Really !  I suppose it’s because he hasn’t done any before and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet !!

Next week I am going to give you all some tips on keeping healthy – but be aware that these are coming from someone who hasn’t quite started her New Year’s Resolutions yet – after all, there were all those left over mince pies and Christmas puddings etc. that needed eating up before they went off !  I am doing the walking each day, but I don’t think it counts if you are just trying to walk off the scrumptious dinner from the night before…….!


Its important with RA, or any other variation of it, that you learn to be ‘thick skinned’ because there are definitely going to be moments when you unwittingly find yourself in a ticklish situation – usually all of your own making !
I went to stay with my sister and decided to take a bath – nothing unusual in that right?   What I didn’t know was that she had recently had the bath resurfaced with what seemed like glass !  Only I didn’t notice until I got in and lowered myself into the water – after I had locked the door as I was in a strange house.  Come time to get out I carefully placed a flannel on both sides of the bath to supplement my poor grip and just fell back in, my feet slipping out from under me. What to do ?  I realised I could reach down to the bath mat, so I put that in the bath under my bum and feet and tried again.  Bigger slip, bigger splash !  So I let out the water in case that was adding to my problem – no, that made it worse and now to top it all I was getting cold.  At that moment I heard Pat (my husband) walk down the corridor, and as I was so frustrated I yelled for help! After I had explained that not only was I stuck in the bath, but the door was locked too, he just put his shoulder to it and barged in breaking the lock and got me out.  I must say he was very tactful about replacing the damage, but I felt awful for several days! I stick to showers now !
Definitely my most embarrassing moment of all was in The Hunter Valley, NSW where we had gone to sample the lovely wines with my daughter and her husband.  We had booked in to a cottage that was in a row of similar cottages, raised up on a wooden balcony with steps down to the car. In the melee of unpacking, etc I realised I had left my book in the car, so holding on to the bannister, I carefully descended the steps back down – watching where I put my feet so I wouldn’t slip.  Having got the book, up I went again watching my feet all the time and back in to the cottage. There on the sofa in the living room was a couple doing what couples do when alone and I actually walked right past them saying that they could have waited a bit – when I realised that it was not my daughter, but some complete strangers ……….I was in the wrong cottage !!  I then had to turn around apologising as best I could, walk back past them and go back and find the right cottage where everyone collapsed in gales of laughter. What was worse was that we met them again at breakfast, but they seemed to find it funny as well – thank goodness!

My favourite place is the beach so whilst staying at the Movenpick, Gammarth, Tunis after my knee replacement I got bored with sitting by the various pools and went off to find the beach.  It was quite a long slow walk through the gardens down to the sea and when I got there it was only to find that the decking had a drop of about a foot down to the sand.  That might not seem much to you, but to me it was like standing on a cliff ! With nothing to hold on to I didn’t dare risk it, when suddenly two nice young beach guards arrived and one either side, lifted me up and down to the sand. This was followed by them finding me an umbrella and a reclining seat and even a glass of water !  What was better that they watched out for me coming and going over the next days and repeated the operation without having to be asked. Gosh I love Tunisia and its people !
I have been stuck on many beaches as I always want to sit in the hot sand and then find it impossible to get up again. Boobs over feet is my war cry if I need to stand up and this is not always possible, so I need to seek the assistance of people passing by to give me a push or a pull. There is absolutely no need to feel embarrassed, they will either help you or they won’t, but to date I have been lucky and not engulfed by the incoming tide …..so far !