A day at the hospital.

Hospital induction day!  No… no I’m quite alright. Not about to embark on a long hospital stay anytime soon – touch wood – but apparently every person who wants to volunteer at our local hospital has to do an induction day. You know health and safety fire drills… yada yada yada… all VERY necessary but not exactly the most thrilling way to spend a Friday! To be honest, it was the most interesting of all the corporate induction days I’ve ever been to, but let’s face it: that’s not saying much. I learned, for example, that the hospital evacuates patients sideways from a fire in the first instance moving them sideways on the same floor and only taking them out of the building if things become VERY serious. It makes all the sense in the world, but I’ve never had to think about it before. I learned about all the different signs that may be on a patients door and who is or isn’t allowed in. I learned that almost half of all fires in the NHS are on mental health wards  and the number of fires the NHS deals with in a year is much MUCH higher than I would have thought.

I also learned how to wash my hands… Properly!  Now now now don’t be all disgusted. Of course I washed my hands before… and with soap too!  But I’m here to tell you that once you’ve seen what I saw you’ll pay more attention to HOW exactly you perform this simple task. Of course the hand washing routine is much more important in a hospital given the fact that is a building full of sick people TRYING to get better and not, for example, catch what the guy in the bed next door has brought in with him. To that end, all bedsides have alcohol gel for staff to use (except children’s wards where staff carry their own personal dispenser attached to them).  After telling us over and over how important it was to comply with this procedure, the sister in charge of infection control put a smallish blob of gel on the palm of our hands and asked us to go ahead and “wash” our hands with it…. after which she pulls out a black light and we discover the gel was UV sensitive and we’re able to see all the dark spots we miss when we usually wash our hands – in my case the tops of my fingers, between my nails, and my knuckle… EWWW! Yeah, I’m a tad paranoid about it since I saw that and now I REALLY pay attention. Oh and I’ll always dry my hands with a paper towel too and never use a hand dryer again after seeing those lab results compared.  Trust me.

Really, it was the first session of the day that affected me and I’m talking about it last because it affected me not in a good way. The topic “Safeguarding Children” was all about abuse: who might be at risk, how to spot it, what to do if you suspect it, the differences and the effects of emotional abuse, verbal abuse… sexual abuse. Complete with slides and stories of past failures where nobody intervened and nothing was done. I felt like I was choking on it.  I wanted to make it stop, to scream, and yet I just sat there and put these walls up and tried to let all these words bounce off me.  I became somewhat numb… shutting off my emotions one by one until I could somehow cope. I felt like it was my life up there.  I felt exposed.  It’s weird sitting there feeling like you’re being judged, hearing someone talk about  the effects on abused children, what its like  for them to live in that situation, and how they can be affected into adulthood. My brain was screaming YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ME STFU. It felt like eavesdropping on someone bitching about you when you know that you can’t do anything because you shouldn’t have been listening in the first place. Horrid horrid horrid.  It’s made me want to curl up in a ball and cry. Now usually I would have left.  I wouldn’t have coped. I’d have walked out and probably cried and this approach would only have caused more aggravation for me because when you walk out like that you eventually have to explain yourself and telling people who don’t really need to know is hard  and can make you look like an attention seeking drama queen. Not only that, but dragging it all up to tell somebody I don’t really know causes me more harm than good because I get stuck thinking about it and it goes round and round in my head for much longer than if I had just been able to sit through the thing that was bothering me and somehow deal with it. This session I did just that. I gritted my teeth and sat through it all because it needed to be said.  People need to know and be aware of these things and because the rational part of my brain KNOWS that they are NOT talking about me specifically and that nobody can tell just from looking at me. I’m not branded “abused child” across my forehead. So I sucked it up and kept my irrational/emotional side under control. Even when the lady started talking about how abused children often have trouble dealing with emotions as adults,  how when in a conflict they shut down shut off their emotions and don’t react… and my brain is YELLING  : I’M DOING THAT  RIGHT NOW… AM I SO SCREWED UP???  Fuck, it was Hard.  It left me a little antsy and insecure for a day or two, but I’m so proud of myself that I managed to get through that I’m hoping one day… someday it will get easier. I do realize its bad not to talk about what happened at all, but the key seems to be trying to learn to open up to talk about it with people I feel comfortable with… and not to get myself  into situations where my hand is forced and I have to explain myself to people  I don’t know.

Whoa… emotional minefield navigation is exhausting.

Ali xX

Kayak Man BSc (Hons)

So I’ve talked about KM and his story and how proud of him I am so often  that I’m not gonna take a huge long post to say all that over again. But, I promised the man I’d share some pictures here and so I will keep my word….I present to you KM the graduate!

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jon Graduation

There’s not much else to say except that apart from a little rain, the day was great despite his fears: KM was not late, did not trip/fall/forget anything/say something stupid.  He spent most of the time giggling umm sorry chuckling (guys don’t giggle) and fiddling with his robes. And just to add to an already incredibly cool day, KM received his award from the chancellor of John Moore’s University Doctor of Astronomy BRIAN MAY … yes THAT Brian May!  Who told us that he took time out from his love of astronomy to …”pursue other things” uh huh … like being the guitarist in QUEEN!  How flipping cool. Yep I was a little jealous that KM got to shake this guys hand!

Brian may

You rock KM ❤ You!

Ali xX

P.S. I wore the boots: P

T’was the night before …..

In case you missed it, KM graduates tomorrow!  He’s so excited about his special day. It’s cuter than a kid on Christmas Eve! Me, well, I was doing fine until I realized that the shoes I had been planning to wear with the outfit I had picked out were in fact the same shoes I threw out over 2 months ago! Oopps. Well, KM right away jumps in and tells me he wants me to wear my knee high boots and when I protest (but your mother is going!) he just grins and calmly tells me that I should because tomorrow is a day for him…  bwahaha.  The man makes me giggle and this time he is right. The day is all about him. So will I put on said boots or not??

The man of the hour is all tucked up in bed, his suit shirt and tie (purple because he lubs me) are hanging ready in the hallway. He’s trimmed his beard and I’m soooo grateful he decided against shaving it off. Conversations with his mum have taken place, cell numbers exchanged, meeting places arranged. So finally maybe we are ready to sit back and just enjoy the occasion.

KM’s university only allocates two guest tickets for each graduate. I cannot tell you how much this sucks and the crazy amounts of stress it causes when obviously both parents want to be there for the occasion… and well then there’s me.  There has been so much to-ing and frow-ing over whom the guests should be and what the third person should/would do while the actual ceremony takes place.  It’s made my head spin. When it came down to it, the issue was resolved only when KM’s father had to travel to Spain for work. TBH, while I was very happy and excited to be a witness to this right of passage that KM has been longing for since I met him, it still makes me rather sad that his father can’t take my place. After all, he is the one who has supported KM financially at least for the past 3 years. Well, the past 8 really. I’ve make a promise to myself to try and take as many pictures as I can to share when his dad gets back.

KM today has been going over all the memories I have of my graduation. He’s worried considering all the little mishaps that could happen (KM has dyspraxia which makes him more than usually clumsy). So far things that could go wrong = he’ll trip in front of all the spectators, his mortar board is going to fall off given his… aherm… lack of hair to pin it into, he’ll sit in the wrong place, get lost on the way, be late, he won’t shake the chancellor’s hand, he’ll argue with his mum, I’ll argue with his mum…

I’m a little sad that official photographs and celebratory dinners not in our budget because hell I so want to make a big fuss of him.

But I know what most important is: by this time tomorrow… he’ll be an official graduate and nothing can take that away from him.

So tomorrow… KM will have his day and I can’t sleep. I’m so excited for him!

Ali xX

July IComLeavWe

It’s that time again  July IComLeavWe is here! A very warm welcome to you if that’s how you came to be here. This is the first time I’ve written a little intro for the occasion and to be honest I’m pretty nervous. Let me get the thing that’s worrying me out of the way first. I’m an infertile wanna be midwife. I write about all parts of my life on my blog so sometimes you’ll find me ranting about the pain and injustice of infertility because, let’s face it, this thing is a bitch… but then in other posts I’ll be talking about my feelings and my journey  as I chase my dream to become a registered midwife in the UK. I say this upfront because I absolutely do not want anything I write about here to cause you distress, so if you are feeling fragile or just not in the mood  please go ahead and bypass my ramblings. I will not take offense, I promise. Please know that you take with you my very best wishes in hopes that your dreams come true.

I have PCOS (DX Summer 2006) and some other medical history including a heart problem which basically means the chances of me conceiving and then safely carrying a baby to term are… well, ridiculously small. At the time that all this came to light, I struggling to recover from an abusive relationship with my father as a result of which, amongst other things, means that relations between me and my mum are very strained at best. By the end of 2006 I had lost my job, seen a relationship break down, moved house and was suffering anxiety and severe depression. I’m not proud of it, but things just all fell apart. Fast forward to now and you join me as I’m trying to put the pieces all back together. I haven’t had a panic attack in months (fingers crossed).  I’m returning to college in September. I’m looking for work (me and a million other people).  I’m in a relationship with a guy who’s been my close friend for nearly 8 years. At 27 he just graduated college and wants us to be married by this time next year. While we are not TTC at the moment I really struggle with commitment because of my past and my infertility.

Welcome to my journey…

Oh I should introduce the guy in the background.  We refer to him as Gadget Guy. He’s a very good friend I met online.  He currently lives in Chicago with Mrs. Gadget Guy and their oh so cute bunny Chip and he looooves gadgets (the clues in the name). (Editor: Hello… Gadget Guy here… <waves>!) I tell you about him because, well, I’m dyslexic and he’s my editor/human spell checker.  If you want to read about it the info is here.

My master plan is here

If you think I’m crazy for wanting to be a midwife, you should read these posts.

A few people have written their A-Z for an intro over the last couple of months. Such a cute idea, I had to give it a go:

A: America – My Favorite place to Travel /explore/learn about/the place I would live if given the choice.

B: Baseball – My sport. The only one I really follow

C: Cooking – something I wish I was better at

D:  Dyslexic- Yes I am.

E: Exercise – also referred to as the “E” thing. Something I need to do more of.

F: French – The only other language I can speak.

G: Gadget Guy- My good friend from Chicago also my human spell checker 😛

H: Home – something I’m looking for.

I: Infertility – the main cause of my depression / frustration… perhaps anger.

J: Job Seeking – uugh it sucks

K: Kayak Man – My significant other

L: Liverpool – the nearest big city to me

M: Midwife – something I hope to become.

N: Needle Work – something I wish I had more time for

O: Ocean – something very beautiful to me.

P: PCOS – something I struggle with

Q: Questions – I often have them and I nearly always answer them when I’m asked.

R: Reading – something I will be doing a lot more of over the next few years.

S: Scottish – my actual nationality

T: Theatre – my forgotten passion. How I miss it

U: University – The journey I hope to start, that Kayak Man just finished

V: Volunteer- something I do for the Red Cross and local hospital.

W: Wedding – the most stressful word in my life at the moment.

X= Kisses! – I know I cheated but how can you not love them the chocolate kind and the real ones.

Y: Yankees – My team  see B

Z: Zamboni – possibly my most favorite word it always makes me chuckle

So there we have it Ali from A- Z … Happy IComLeavWe.

Ali xX

Feeling his age.

Ever since our babysitting trip on Friday, something is not quite right with my Kayak Man. He seems sullen and really a bit depressed. In fact, I even witnessed him crying but we won’t tell anyone about that now, will we internets… because he does not like people to know that he cries real tears like the rest of the human race. No he does not.

This is most unusual and rather worrying because, let’s face it, the role of emotional mess is sooo taken care of in this relationship. I got it covered and then some but if there’s one thing worse than crying my eyes out  its watching him cry because pah I cry allll the time. KM NEVER cries and when he does it kills me.  I wish I could just wave a magic wand and make it all better. Where is his fairy godmother anyways? can someone tell that biotch she’s late.

I knew something was up from the topic of conversation as we walked over to his sister’s. First he starts openly talking about how he’s almost thirty and straight away I’m alll shhhhhhhh we don’t talk about that because I’m only 1 measly year younger than you and and if you’re almost there that means I’m RIGHT BEHIND YOU. AAAHHH!  But it gets worse… just as I’m pushing the thought of the big 3-0 out of my brain he goes on to say that he’s technically middle aged.  Cue me WHAT Excuse me????  Apparently this conclusion was reached by him taking the average life expectancy for a bloke (currently 76 in the UK according to good old Google), dividing this figure by three puts him just into the second third of his life and therefore he deduces just into Middle Aged!!!!!!  OK see, at this point It’s all I can do to keep listening and not freak the heck out. I …*I* am not ready to contemplate this label yet, I can tell you that for nothing. He assures me its ok I have a few years to go as female life expectancy is actually higher (currently 81 –  goggle is my friend ) Pheeeewww. I breathe a sigh of relief . We said no more about it the rest of the way, but I was quietly left thinking that KM needs a job or something to do soon as he has far too much time on the couch to think about these things apparently.

I thought it was over, but I was not so lucky. Today he opens the conversation again stating that right now he feels about ten years behind his life plan. You know where he thought he’d be age thirty. Whooo Boy… tell me about it. I mean at one point in time I literally thought life would be worthless after 40 (sad but true). I figured by thirty… well lets just say I didn’t think I’d be where I am now.

I feel for the guy. I do. I mean currently we still live in a house owned by his mother. His parents are instrumental in supporting him/us financially (to be fair here, KM did work for several years and went back to college full time because his parents suggested it and offered financial help). Currently we are both desperately looking for work; he after three years out at college and me after almost 3 years out sick. (Yikes its hard to type that). Right now life seems hard and so far from what we both imagined. And that’s before you even get into all the “I wanted to have kids by now ”  heartache.

I’m so proud of him for going back to college and trying to better himself/his prospects/his future… whatever.  I desperately want to follow his example by returning to uni next year. Both of us are working at getting to a place we want to be. There’s even the potential of major change /relocation next year, something that we both are aiming for, so it’s not all bad… but sometimes it feels like wading through treacle.  It’s hard going and KM seems a little bogged down and stuck. Well I guess in all honesty we both are in a bit of a funk at the moment, but I’m hoping he can catch a break soon because… he’s a proud guy, he’s been through a lot and built his self esteem up from a very low point. He deserves it. He needs it.

Is this what they call a quaterlife crisis hmmm??!!?

Ali xX

Big boys ! (Children mentioned.)

Friday, KM and I were requested to report to his sister’s house for babysitting duty. Our charge was his young nephew N. He’s a cute kid and I can’t quite believe this but he’s four years old already. It was a very special day for the little guy… aherm I’m sorry… Big Boy. It was his last day of infant school and he came running in all excited having just spent a few celebratory hours at the local indoor soft play area, apparently not QUITE using all his energy. Of course we had to watch his graduation which he proudly put into the DVD player all by himself  while KM and I sat on the couch looking at each other and going HUH they have infant graduation now ….. and then he was on screen with all his classmates performing the end of year play in which he took on the crucial role of a chicken, which clearly was a very important task even though he later confessed he would much rather have been a puppy, launching KM into a whole conversation about the merits of chickens and how they really ARE very cool. The little actor getting very shy and embarrassed as his big moment arrives… apparently he’s one of those who can’t watch his own performance and prefers to spend the time hiding his face, bless him. Two things surprised me about this taping, despite the fact that it was near enough impossible to make out what any of these kids were saying. The first was when I realized that the words they were singing along to popular French tune “Frère Jacques” actually began “Buenos Dias…” and I’m just thinking these kids take Spanish now. Wow… when N points to one of the ladies dressed in her finest Spanish attire and quietly tells us that’s his Girl Friend… and my head’s swinging backwards and forwards between awww how cute… and say WHAT… you’re 4!

The play winds to its conclusion and here come the proud graduates complete with cap courtesy of craft class and a little scroll as proof of their hard work/ progression to BIG school. By this point I might add the star of the show has lost interest and is engrossed in creating a pile up of toy cars on the floor.

I love that KM gets this opportunity to be close to his nephew and it’s simply delightful to listen to the two debate the finer points of the world’s workings or negotiate the bedtime routine. Mmhumm the final conclusion was 1 viewing of “Kung Fu Panda” and a small corner of chocolate brownie in exchange for brushing teeth and going to bed without a fuss. Though the younger of the two men drives a hard bargain and got a Thomas the Tank Engine story thrown in, all I can hear from downstairs is N saying “you need to come and sit next to me. I have to see the pictures!”  which is a fair request but the image of a “larger than life” KM trying to perch on a toddler bed has me quietly chuckling downstairs.

N fell asleep while flicking through the pictures in the story book KM let him keep when he finished his rendition. He must have been all tuckered out from his big day. KM was all tuckered out, too, it seems as we were both falling asleep on his sisters oh so comfy couch by the time her key turned in the lock and she got home.

And now here for your viewing pleasure… because you know I had to: KM (who graduates himself on Wednesday)  modeling the cap.

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Ali xX