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…….!


Here I am, having just got over Christmas and New Year and it’s only five weeks till Valentine’s Day! My thoughts are supposed to be turning to thoughts of love, but it’s taking a major effort just to cope with the aftermath of the celebrations. Lots of deep breathing needed and walks taken around the countryside to de-stress whilst husband hoovers up all the glitter I’ve spread around whilst trying to take all the decorations down. I think he’s more stressed than me after seeing me attempt to stand on a step ladder to get down the Christmas lights – I didn’t know he could move so quickly !!
Pushing Valentine’s Day to the back of my mind leaves my thoughts free to plan my six-monthly trip to see my Rheumatologist in Dublin. Quite a bit of planning has to go into this as we live about 300 miles away on the Beara Peninsula which makes it a full day’s outing. The train leaves Killarney – 35 miles away – at 07.40, so I have to get up at 05.30 to have a shower, get dressed and have breakfast and be ready to get into the car at 06.30. By this time Pat will have taken the two dogs in to the kennels the day before and I have to make sure and leave the 2 rescue cat’s food in the larder for my friend Stella who will pop in and feed them in the late afternoon. I will also have booked two seats on the normally busy train to Dublin courtesy of Irish Rail. We catch the train up and back because I get free train travel for me and my ‘carer’ , (i.e.. husband) and the trains are clean and comfy and I can wander around if needs be. They also have large, wheelchair friendly loos with doors that slide right back and reveal all, if you forget to lock them !! (Did this happen to me? – of course it did !). I’m usually not awake enough to make sandwiches and flasks for the trip, so we avail of the trolley service for the much needed cup of coffee! This particular train – and the one we take back – goes straight through from Killarney to Dublin and takes just about three hours. I always download a rented film or two to my IPad a few days before and can watch these en route as well as avail of the free WIFI on the train and before you know it we are pulling in to Heuston Station.
During my various operations I had to go to Dublin by myself occasionally as Pat was away in far off climes and the Irish Rail staff were absolutely brilliant, especially if I was in a wheelchair or in walking boots. They would assist me on to the train and send the ramps with me in case I had to change trains and they always informed the staff at Heuston that I was coming and they decamped me into a taxi to the hospital !


My Rheumatologist at the Blackrock Clinic is efficient, friendly and young enough to outlast me !! I have to provide her with my latest ‘bloods’ and a list of any changes in my symptoms since I last saw her six months ago which she questions me about. Her assessment of me is always thorough and unhurried and she always writes down (with a copy for me) of how I should proceed both with medication and personally as I definitely am one of those people who forgets everything given half the chance ! I come away feeling relaxed and updated on my RA and it’s worth every minute of the long journey up and back. With Pat to drive me home from Killarney we arrive slightly exhausted around 9pm having hopefully remembered to collect the doggies en route !