Flower of the Day: 31.08.2016 Sunflower

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They certainly earn their name. This is one of the perfect ones from the local garden store and it is real. I know it does not look like it. I used to have sunflowers in the garden. The birds loved them. When they were finished flowering I would leave the flower heads and they would have a feast on the seeds in the center.

Flower of the Day: 31.08.2016 Sunflower

Discover Challenge: How I learned to be open minded and to live with it

This is not easy. It is all about I, me and myself and began perhaps 25 or 30 years ago, who knows? I was then 40 years old, in the best years you could say. I did not have more problems than the others and above all I was lucky enough to have no threatening  problems. I had a job, a family, and above all we were all more or less healthy.

I liked to go for walks in the country with the family. One day I had a so-called “dizzy spell”. I mean we all get them from time to time. I did not fall, but felt unsteady. I was also prone to small accidents: tripping on a rug perhaps, or an uneven surface. Once I fell down a complete stairwell, but luckily no breakages, just one of those things. It can happen to all of us, so why worry. The giddy attacks came now and again. At the same time my father had similar problems, diagnosed as Meniére – caused by a disturbance in the inner ear. He was already over 70 years old and these things can happen, probably ran in the family. We could talk about it. The doc gave me tablets as Menière was something that came, disappeared for a while and suddenly returned again with no warning: arriving in surges.

I suppose a main factor was my fall in London on Tower Bridge. I was on holiday for a week visiting my father and went for a walk with a friend in the evening to visit the new Docklands area of London. Little did I know then that out of the blue, with no apparent reason, I would fall. I had the quick reaction of placing my arm beneath my head to break the fall. The only thing that got broken was my arm. My friend took me to the hospital where I remained for two days, after having my broken arm pieced together again.  These things can happen.

Now we must fast forward to about 18 months ago. For some time I had been having problems with walking. I was now a golden oldie, and things no longer work as well as they should in age I told myself. Remarks were also made I should get out more, do more walking, otherwise I would get more rusty as I got older. This was true as I was never a person for keeping fit. I preferred to sit at home with my computer or a book. What annoyed me most of all were the people who said “is there something wrong with you? Do you have walking problems?”. I could no longer walk as well as earlier, but I was no longer fresh and ready to go – it must be old age.

And then it happened. I had a fall, was taking a photo, slipped and could no longer stand up on my own. This was nothing new, it had happened now and again, but with the help of a chair or another object, my husband, I could stand again. This time it was not possible. A taxi was called, I was admitted to the ER at the hospital, no breakages were found, and I was sent home to recover. I visited my doctor. She decided I should visit a neurologist to clarify my various “accidents” and dizziness.

I let things take their course, why not. I had an open mind about these problems. I was now approaching 70 years. After the first scan of my back, my open mindness was becoming a little shattered. A day later the specialist called me, said there were some irregularities and I should also have my head scanned. My open mindness had taken a knock, it was disappearing. When I arrived at the X-ray institute they told me that I should also have a thorax x-ray. I was slowly shutting down. My specialist had already mentioned the word “illness” when talking of my problems. An appointment was made for further examinations at the local hospital responsible for neurological examinations.

Was I ill, was it serious? I decided to make an Internet journey through various channels of my problems and my treatment and discovered two letters “MS” Multiple Sclerosis. Everything pointed in this direction. The confirmation followed after the final examinations at the hospital with various tests and a lumber puncture withdrawing liquid from the brain. My samples were sent all over Switzerland to various laboratories.

How do you react? I did not react. I suspected it myself, it seemed to me that everyone else was reacting.

Walking cane

This is the current result. The cane on the left is the one I use at home, and the flashy cane on the right is for the general public. I mean if you have to have one, then go the whole hog.

In the meanwhile I attend physio therapy once a week to maintain the feelings that I still have in my legs. Funny how you begin to reflect on your past “healthy” life and realise what happened then was probably due to MS. My dizzy spells definitely, part of the “surge” mechanism.  You do not get MS at the age of 70, it is there already, and slips into your body over the years. There is no cure, but you can stablise it by taking medicine. I was summoned last week to my specialist to talk about treatment. The decision was to be my decision, as there will be side effects, but nothing serious. Do I have a choice? Yes I do and do not. I am no longer getting surges for the plain reason that that stage is already gone. The next surge might be a big one, and the prospect of walking with two canes, a zimmer-frame or even a weelchair is becoming a possibility. It seems I am now chronic, but, where there is a will there is a way. I am faced with a choice of taking drugs, or just carrying on until the inevitable happens.

This week-end I will be receiving a large parcel, express post, with ampules of my drug. I am to put them into the fridge. On Tuesday afternoon the nurse will be visiting to show me how to go on the needle, every second day one shot and that is now the story of my future life. I am open minded, can be glad that I can do something to stop this illness that wants to steal my body from me. My problem is walking, otherwise I have been lucky up to now, but no-one really knows what the future might hold, but does anyone?

Discover Challenge: How I learned to be open minded and to live with it

Daily Prompt: Fierce, beware, I spit fire

Cleaning

I hate Wednesday afternoons – silly really because it is basically only half an hour of Wednesday afternoon tbat I hate. It is the part after a golden oldie sleep when you decide to do the weekly shower cleaning session. Today I had the added annoyance of our gardening troop responsible for our estate, using their powerful leaf vacuums for converting our outside paths into neat spaces. No leaf remains unturned until they are finished which was a sleep disturbance.

I suppose I could leave the shower, it is not really dirty, becaue it is done basically every day on the surface. I reserve Wednesday afternoon for below the surface. For removing the limescale from the shower doors and walls, for wiping away finger prints on the wall tiles, just a bit more than usual. All the rest is done daily, a 5-10 minute job, all in a days routine.

But I hate this shower cleaning thing. When its finished, all the cleaning for the week is finished, I have done it all. I really do not want to spend my golden oldie days cleaning, but it has to be done. I have a good system. The Swiss cleaning company Raab supplies the cleaning glove and the liquid, I only need a few drops in the water. It is not even necessary to wash the cleaning liquid away. Modern science has invaded the cleaning world. Dry it off with your microtechnical cloth and you have done it all. It can be bought in the local drug store, or ordered online. Yes, the computer world has invaded the world of the housewife.  For the shower surface, apply the window cleaning device to wipe away the remainders – what could be better. A lot could be better, if you did not do it. If you left it for a week, two weeks, a month – just forget it with the problem that you have to spend an hour or more afterwards getting things shining again. And note the flat mop head. I have 10 of them. Use it once, put it in the wash and there is a clean one to replace it. Yes, I am orgnanised.

I know I am silly, stupid, and it seems I turn into a sort of fire spitting lookalike dragon when I am doing it. Afterwards I am cool and calm. As soon as I apply the mop to the floor I know I am on the finishing lap, the end of it all. I can relax, have a 10 minute lay down to recover before beginning my next work, which is more relaxing. I can sit in a chair and write a  blog. I could even read a book, but I reserve the reading for the evening. Tomorrow will be better and so will Friday. I have no work left, it is all done. Just stay out of my way when I clean the shower.

Today there was a problem. My cleaning world came tumbling down. As I removed my son’s bath towel from the top of the cupboard in front of the shower to replace it on the towel rack in the shower, a small glass bowl contining some sort of silly ornament crashed to the ground and sent its splitters everywhere. Luckily no spreading in the shower, but it had to be cleared away. I swept it together, I thought I swept it together, but no. The glass splinters found their way into all the microscipic crevices of the corridor. The quest for the remains of the small glass bowl continued. I kept my imitation poppy head in this glass bowl. It is worn once a year around the 1st November to commemorate the end of the first world war and its victims. I am probably one of the few that actually wear it in Switzerland, being british. I found another receptacle and so life goes on. I will also now be commemorating the day I smashed a small glass bowl whilst cleaning the shower as well as the end of the war.

I suppose there are fiercer things. I could have cut my finger on a splinter of glass, and then it would have been a case for an ambulance, a blood transfusion, who knows. I am now cool and calm, the incident is forgotten – until the next time.

Daily Prompt: Fierce, beware, I spit fire

Good Morning

Grape remains

No, this is not one of my mysterious photos, submitted to a contest on pictures of fruit, it shows the remains of my grapes which disappeared overnight. Mr. Swiss decided to buy some grapes last week, as it is now the season. They are a reasonable price and according to what the best buy of the week is, this grape type was being  sold as a special offer.

My GP doctor actually told me that grapes were very healthy. They probably are, but when you suffer with diabetes and other digestive problems, they are not exactly the best idea of health. I prefer the seedless grapes in any case. There is nothing more annoying than biting on a grape and having 3 or 4 seeds to chew on, which do tend to have a bitter taste.

Anyhow I am digressing. As I did not want to eat the grapes and Mr. Swiss discovered they were not as good as he thought they might be, we were left with a bunch of grapes, minus the few that we had eaten. Coupled with the grape harvest, we also have the wasp invasion. Wasps love grapes, actually they love anything you might be eating, and they seem to zoom past from nowhere. I once observed a wasp carving a small piece of ham, which he flew off with clamped in his tiny front feet. I decided as we did not want the grapes, it would be a good idea to leave them in a dish outside to give the wasps something useful to do and to keep them away from our food. Basically this works. I was actually looking forward to taking a photo of the wasp invasion of the grape remainders. In the meanwhile something strange happened.

The bowl contained more than half a branch with many grapes in the evening. The next morning I did my usual observation of the state of the garden and noticed that the grapes were gone leaving only the stalks, as can be seen in the picture of the evidence above. Now I know wasps can overdo it, but no wasp tribe would be able to eat a complete bowl of grapes overnight. Wasps are active during the day, in the evening they sleep and dream of what they can eat the next day. I asked Mr. Swiss where the grapes had gone. He replied he was thinking the same and cross his Swiss heart, no, he had not eaten the grapes – after all they do not agree with him.

Where did the grapes go? Our feline Tabby does not eat fruit, it does not form part of her  diet, she is more into flesh, the fresher the better. If it had been a bowl of birds or mice, there would be no discussion, but it was grapes. We now have under suspicion the birds, mice, hedgehogs or a grape eating monster that lurks in the shelter of a tree, waits for the humans to sleep and then crawl up to the bowl of grapes and eat them, absorb them, or whatever monsters do. Perhaps they have children that need grapes to survive. I decided I should perhaps organise my alarm for the early morning hours. I might see some strange shapes walking to their nest of baby grape eating triffids, carrying grapes balanced on their heads.

One thing is now certain, there will be no more grapes bought and definitely not left outside. There is no telling what could happen. I just got a telephone call from Steven Spielberg about his new film “The Return of the Grape Absorbers” or “The Secrets of the Swiss Grape Vines”. I turned the offer down. Do not want a film team trampling all over my garden looking for grape monsters.

Today I will venture into the unknown paths of the supermarket. I am sure it will be an exciting expedition, full of choosing, buying and paying for it all. I noticed on my iPad connection to my supermarket they have a special offer on chysanthemums for only 3-4 francs a pot, so I will probably indulge. My two pots of dahlias on the table in the garden are now drooping the flower heads that remain. I will plant them somewhere in the garden for next year and replace them with the mums. Oh the joys of planning my daily escapades.

Be kind to your computers, and do not forget – behind every tree there are grape robbers. They might even be in your home if you put your grapes in a dish in the kitchen so beware.