Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!
Another week has just rushed past like an express train and I’m struggling to remember what happened. Or, perhaps it was more a case of being hit on the head a few times and I’m struggling to get my bearings. That’s probably more like it, because I haven’t exactly been busy in the traditional sense. More like hyper-distracted. Indeed, I’ve acquired a new, and very addictive distraction which involves shopping online at Salvo Stores. I’ve included a few of my more extraordinary finds for you to check out:
To be honest, I’ve needed a fair bit of distraction lately. Or, perhaps the reverse is true and that by distracting myself, I’m only shooting myself in the foot and now is actually the time to be uber-focused, vigilant and pedantically one-track minded. I don’t know but before this cryptic conversation with myself goes any further, I probably should spill the beans and bring you into the picture.
I’m not sure about how much I’ve said about what’s going on with my health atm. I have an auto-immune disease, dermatomyositis (DM) and associated fibrosis in my lungs, which is known as Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD). I developed the DM after the birth of my daughter and have been living with it for 17 years. The ILD developed about 10 years ago and had been largely contained but the fibrosis has gradually increased. The theory is that as long as the DM is in remission, the lungs will be stable. All was going well until a mix up with a script cut my medication in half and unlike many other scripts, I didn’t manage to lose this one. Bugger! Consequently, my autoimmune disease flared up a bit. IN the meantime, I had a respiratory virus in December and covid in January. Yet, I seemed to recover and had a wonderful time in January catching ferries and walking extensively around Sydney. So it’s hard to understand how I came to fall on my sword and end up so sick and desperately short of breath and my lung capacity dropping from 50% to 30% Not only that, I suddenly became my lung specialist’s best friend as he started exploring and sharing my case. That obviously spells TROUBLE!! Yet, at the same time, I’ve set out fiercely determined to heal myself. I’m going for a 10 minute walk most days and using a device called a respiratory exerciser where you inhale and try to raise three blue balls off the ground. At first, I could only raise one but now I’m getting the third one up some of the time and that has to be a good sign. We are also praying. I would probably prefer to pray for God to wave a magic wand and instant make me better. However, he has a wonderful sense of humour and I know I have to do my share too and that’s the exercise. I should also do more singing. After all it’s singers, swimmers and brass players who give me hope because they can end up with above average lung capacity. So, instead of trawling through the Salvo Stores I should be singing all night.
We had a very special day today. Our daughter auditioned for a local youth performing arts show with the dance school she attends and we were able to watch. She appeared in three classical ballet dances: a trio, a duo and her ballet solo. She is always amazing and naturally looks the part with her physique which is a stroke of genetic fortune (especially considering I am about 10-15cm taller than her). However, none of this comes on a platter and there’s a lot of hard work and she lives and breathes ballet with a passion.
I was particularly delighted to see the new duo for the first time which she performs with a young man she’s known forever at the studio and I guess this for me is what ballet is all about and it really is like she’s finally arriving after starting ballet 14 years ago as a three year old and there’s that graduation from flats, to pointe shoes, doing solos, getting your first real (expensive) tutu and then there’s that magical connection in a good duo which is sensational. They might not be Torvill and Dean of the dance world in other people’s eyes, but they were to me and they were spectacular.
After the audition, we went out for lunch across the road. That was also truly special and not something we do terribly often.
Have you read any good books lately? I am currently reading “Seven Poor Men of Sydney” by Australian author Christina Stead. It’s largely set in Watson’s Bay on Sydney Harbour but is quite a dark tale and perhaps not the best thing for me to be reading with the state of my lungs. However, Stead’s characters are generally lonely misfits and I’m immersed in family and community so my lifestyle is very different. The book is very philosophical, which I love and Stead writes beautifully and there’s plenty of underlining throughout which is my mark of a great book. Here are a few of my underlinings:
“Who does not wish to spend his life in communion with himself?”
“You can be absorbed in Nature, as-as in the sea, as if you melted into the sea and were diffused through the oceans of the earth. There is peace where her mysteries are an open book to you; in her inmost recesses she has perfect peace, even for the most fevered.”
I have 50 pages left, which is too much to polish it off tonight but at the same time, I’m on that downhill run where I’m eager to follow all the threads and reach the end, even though I will miss it when it’s done.
Meanwhile, I’ve also been researching her father, naturalist David G. Stead and he led me astray onto a whole different journey as he was a naturalist and conservationist and he wrote a series of articles in the children’s section of a Sydney newspaper which make for interesting reading. His column was called “The Great Outdoors” and was narrated using the voice of an emu called Dirrawan. Stead was rather broad in his understanding of the great outdoors and one of his early columns gives a detailed account of mud sediments at the bottom of the ocean, especially at the deepest part of the ocean in the Marianna Trench, which is clearly well away from the Australian outdoors. Anyway, I’ve managed to download the text from the online newspapers after undertaking text corrections and they’re now getting a further clean up as the analysis begins. This has also been a brilliant distraction.
So, how are things with you going? No doubt, I should’ve asked you that at the outset and offered you “coffee, tea or bonox” as my mother would say. However, I got a bit carried away. So, please forgive me.
This has been another Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie the Explorer.
PS I almost forgot to mention that Miss and I decorated our new phone cases this week. This is an idea she picked up from Tik Tok where you cover the cover the back of the cover in tiling plaster and stick objects into it like a collage. It was so much fun and I was really happy with the results even if they’re not the most practical phone cases around.
I’m so sorry to hear about your lung issues. This must be so hard to deal with. It’s good that you’re doing walking and doing respiratory exercises though.
I’m so proud of your daughter for performing in the audition and doing so well on her duo!
I recall reading about your condition, gosh – long ago now. You were among the first friends I made via blogging. But I either missed or forgotten that it coincided with the birth of your daughter. Childbirth is such a big thing that almost nothing about it surprises me anymore, but this one was a stretch and I’d be doubting it as a reader – except that you said it – so I’m left amazed.
When our first born came home, my wife discovered she could no longer stand artificial sweeteners, so “diet” sodas were off her list (for 30+ years now) along with anything else that uses them. I thought that was weird, but your story beats ours by a long shot.
BTW – great photos of her dancing. She’s not a little girl anymore.
So lovely to catch up with all your news, you are so positive. I am sorry to hear though that you are having heath issues at this moment. I wish you well. Much love from Agnes x
Hope your health improves. How lovely to see those pictures of your daughter in the pas de deux!
Hope your health continues to improve. Lovely photos of your daughter’s performance. Thank you for your weekend coffee share.
Hope you bounce back and get better lung capacity soon! Great photos of your daughter. She looks like the perfect ballerina.
Well done being so positive with your health.
Hi Rowena, I hope your lungs improve exponentially! Your daughter is lovely and so agile! The photos are amazing. Have a wonderful week.
What a bummer. I hope things move to a positive and you can find some spare capacity from somewhere. Meanwhile it will be just dandy to watch Miss carry on dancing.
Thanks so much, Geoff. It is much more exciting and glamorous to be told to climb a mountain peak to save you’re life than doing mundane breathing exercises and going for short and focused walks and it’s so easy to look at other people who don’t do these small critical things to improve their health than to enact them yourself. Acquiring true wisdom is rarely pleasant. I am grateful that I’m improving and am able to get out and see a few people and I’m embroiled a project transcribing a series of stories by Australian naturalists David G. Stead who was an Australian naturalist and father of author, Christina Stead, She wrote a novel based on their family life and from memory he was portrayed as quite a tyrant. It’s going to take awhile to put all the pieces together but he’s a fascinating character.
Watching Miss dance is quite magical, but what you see out on stage is just the tip of quite an alternative iceberg.
Having a daughter who’s an iceberg must be fun!