No sign of the flare up of osteoarthritis that has plagued me for the last four weeks abating. It's everywhere, from my neck down to my big toes. That's both joints of both big toes, although it's worst in my shoulders, with pain running down my arms and into my stiff hands and fingers. I'm off work because I can't sit at a desk and type without pain. I also have problems getting comfortable enough to sleep. I can't settle on either side and if I doze off on my back, my head gets stuck to one side and when I wake up (panicked), I can't move it unless I do so manually. I usually arrange a sequence of bolsters about me so that I can lie half on my back, half on my side. I feel like a dog in a manger or a pig in a poke or something, while Arthur grins and pushes his feet further under my table.
Ibuprofen, Paracetomol, Co-codamol, an injection of cortisone straight into my shoulder joint - none of them seem to be having an effect. The fleecy wheat bag I bought off eBay does provide some relief but it's only shortlived. A friend has lent me a mini electric blanket she bought in Lidl, at considerable cost to herself as her flat has no central heating. The Keen sandals I got second hand off eBay are much more comfortable on my poor heels (with spurs so big I swear I could ice skate on them) than any others I own, but they are sandals and it is December. I'm waiting for more second hand ones to arrive from America. When they do arrive, I am hopeful that they will tide me over until my appointment with Orthotics comes through. Apparently they have a huge backlog. Boo.
There have been some good moments also. Let's see:
The workshop I ran last week while the usual tutor was away was well received, and it was good to pop my cherry as I need to add strings to a bow that is even balder than Seth Lakeman's after he's played Kitty Jay.
In a similar vein, I have been confirmed as the judge of the Chipping Sodbury Festival Poetry Competition next year.
It was lovely spending time with Daughter Number 2 yesterday, even though the occasion was sad, namely the funeral of her friend's mother. I felt encouraged, however, to see how resilient all of the young people who stayed over at my house were. I just wish they could all find the work they want and need.
After today's Can Openers - the last at the Bristol Old Vic - John Terry, Alana Farrell and I spent some time at the dock at Sea Mills, formerly the Roman port of Portus Abonae. It was bleak and muddy and beautiful, and I'm ashamed to say I'd never been there before. When/if my pain subsides, I'll be taking Ted down there for a proper walk.
And I've won first place in the Pre-Raphaelite Society Poetry Competition with my poem about William Morris called 'This Serviceable Ghost', which is printed in my poetry collection, Communion. In fact, it was a successful competition all round for my publishers, Indigo Dreams, as Caroline Gill, another poet on their list, is also having her poem published in the anthology.
Final good realisation: if cider vinegar is recommended for lessening the symptoms of arthritis, so must cider be, right? Time for a controlled experiment, I think ...