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Archive for the ‘Ageing’ Category

I feel old. My frequent trips to and from the hospital in Lyon for my eye have meant that I’ve spent more time than I dare consider sitting in waiting rooms and hanging about in hospital corridors.

 

Whilst in the beginning I couldn’t see and Mr Piglet’s comments about how young the Doctors looked fell on deaf ears (I thought he was having a crisis as his birthday was coming up), as I waited on Tuesday, I was astounded by how young these Doctors were!

 

I cringed inwardly as I watched Converse clad feet, holey jeans and ribbon bracelets parade around in white Doctor coats. Spots, nose piercing and those weird things that make your ear hole get bigger were everywhere. I knew that it was a teaching hospital and automatically assumed that all these kids were just out of high school and on work placements.

 

But no! Alas! These ugly ducklings were fully fledged Doctors (or ophthalmologists) and were totally qualified to treat me. As I watched the young girl examine my eye and provide notes I felt as if she should be asking her Dad permission to stay out late (it was past 6pm). Thank goodness that there were more senior members on the team too although they only looked about my age. What happens to the older members of staff? Do they evaporate somewhere?

 

I have another question though – whatever happened to dressing up for work? I know they spend a lot of time on their feet but their clothing hardly looked clean yet alone suitable for a professional person. Maybe times have changed, they obviously have and I am obviously getting old.

 

I always assumed and was used to being treated by Doctors that were older than me not considerably and noticeably younger than me.

 

This is going to take some getting used to. I had better start putting plenty of anti-wrinkle cream on.

 

When was the first time that you felt old?

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There’s been lots of moaning on behalf over the last few months about the French medical system as I’ve not had much positive to say about it due to all the bad experiences I’ve had, however, today I would like to thank them for saving my eye sight.

 

Since I posted last week about the One Eyed Blogger, things took a turn for the worse and I ended up back in Hopital Edouard Herriot Eye Centre inLyonthe very next day.

 

One of the funny things about eye problems is that you can’t see. Actually it’s not very funny at all but you lose a lot of perspective and things that you take for granted. I couldn’t see the Doctors that were treating me at the hospital and whilst I know that there were 4 different Doctors that saw me last Tuesday I cannot say what any of them looked like.

 

My pain was so great I had a cover on my head at all times to protect me from the light. The Doctors kept referring me to someone else, it became painfully obvious that my case was serious and when the Chef de Service of the whole eye hospital came to see me I knew that something was majorly wrong.

 

The hospital made it clear to me that I had to go in every day for cortisone injections directly into the eyeball. This was time for me to get over the all consuming fear of hospitals and medical staff that I had developed since this summer. The first time they went to inject me, I actually crossed my legs and wriggled away screaming “non, non”. Obviously the trauma from my birth experience was still very real.

 

The team at the hospital were excellent and listened to what had happened. They offered me tranquilizers and explained why it was so important that they inject into my eyeball. They needed to control the inflammation quickly as it was getting out of control and as a consequence by sight was suffering.

 

Mr Piglet and I made arrangements for me to taken toLyoneach day. It was very stressful trying to organize child care, juggle work (neither Mr Piglet nor I were able to work) plus not know how long each hospital trip would last.

 

After a few days someone piped up that I was entitled to travel by taxi for my hospital trips and that Mr Piglet didn’t need to take time off work to transport me. This was such a relief and a great provision by the French health service. Not only were they taking care of my physical health, my mental well being and peace of mind was also being looked after.

 

So far my sight is improving, the pain is greatly reduced and I am no longer requiring daily Cortison injections. However, I have had to come to terms with my disease and realize that I need medication to help control it right now. This has been hard to admit as at the same time it means admitting I am ill. I have taken the decision to cease breastfeeding Baby Piglet even though I had not wanted to, I do not feel comfortable with the risk of her having medication via my milk.

 

This is the start of a new chapter in my life, a chapter which will redefine my role as a Mummy after only 6 months and a bit, a chapter which will redefine how I look after myself. Now is my time to get well and what better place for it to happen than inFrance?

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This is the most close up pic of me I’ll ever publish on the web!  I think I’m totally rocking the dark sunglasses and hat inside in the dark although I’m pretty sure that some of the local people who have seen me skulking around the village in shades and hats despite the fog will soon start asking me for an autograph “a la Kate Moss”.

I guess this is what you get from trying to convert from Girl gone mild back to Girl gone wild: 3 emergency trips to the eye Hospital in Lyon, sinusitis and acute inflammation of the eye equals minimum 1 week (so far) of no seeing anything and sitting in dark rooms. Obviously Blogger meet ups, crazy weddings and lots of rants have worn me down.

So that’s me taking yet another break from Blogging until I can see again!

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Hey! Sorry for no updates or recent blog posts, my feet haven’t touched the ground! Here’s a few things I’ve been busy with:

- Baby Piglet of course! She’s 4.5 months now and is rolling over and giggling like a champion! She’s just started with the nanny so when I’m not working I’m dedicating all my time to her.

- Work! After nearly a year off (I worked very very part time) I’m back at work and loving every second of it! My return to work coincides with new directions and I’m pretty much investing all my baby free time there at the moment.

- Ankylosing spondylitis: Since giving birth, I have had major complications and problem after problem and have been diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis. Rather than manage it with anti-inflammatories. I have decided to go on an anti-inflammatory diet. No gluten, dairy or sugar. For a girl that practically lived on ice-creams and pasta before giving birth this is one hard task as I hadn’t a clue what to eat and all my habits needed changing!

So, that’s what’s what in the Piglet household these days. Do drop me your news in a comment below or link to any important news on your blogs so I can catch up.

Keep well!

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I just went to post about how I’m becoming fed up of living in a show home when I realized that I hadn’t yet posted that Mr Piglet and I had decided to leave our city loft and move on to pastures greener (literally).

As some of you may have gathered from my last post when I revealed how I could easily have moved to The Grenadines, I have been restless lately and Mr Piglet and I have a common disease known as La Bougeotte. We are completely incapable of staying in one place for more than a couple of years and always looking to move on.

Since I was 14 I have counted that I have moved homes no less than 14 times in 16 years, including three international moves (two to France, one to the UK). That’s a lot of moves, most of which were motivated by ice skating but even so, Hubby and I managed to move 3 times in 4 years in the UK and it’s a miracle that we’ve managed to stay put for the last 3 ½ years in Lyon!

I sincerely thought that our current house would be our forever home but it just hasn’t turned out like that. The recession has meant that our mortgage now seems huge and staying here just doesn’t make financial sense. Couple that with the fact that I am having more and more difficulty in coping with everyday city life and my road rage outbursts are ever increasing, I have been yearning to be surrounded by green fields and trees for a while now. Finally, if you throw in the mini piglet that we’ll hopefully be having in April then we just have to get out of the city.

Life in the city has become something that I no longer enjoy; I no longer get the buzz from the late opening hours, the smell of pollution or the hustle and bustle. It just annoys the hell out of me. People look grumpy, the streets smell, there’s dog pooh everywhere and no-one smiles or says hello. Just plain, miserable city living.

I no longer go out and dine in nice restaurants or sip cocktails in hip bars, have great parties at the house that last all weekend, and cinemas have become synonymous as a place to fall asleep and have a nap whilst comedy clubs and theatres just start too late. Maybe this is all part of growing old or simply growing up? Basically everything I love doing in the city costs no longer interests me or costs too much money. Money which I don’t have (I did try to grow a money tree but it didn’t work) right now and looking into the future and how expensive babies are, money that I’m not going to have anytime soon!

So, we have decided to sell our forever home and move away to the countryside where properties are far cheaper (because no-one else wants to live there maybe?) and we can dream of possibly living a mortgage free (or almost mortgage free) lifestyle.

We would like to live in a house like this...

However, don’t feel sorry for me. I’m actually really looking forward to the new country lifestyle and have already planned many activities. Where we’re looking at, we will be close to no less than three lakes where we enjoy water sports, nearer to the mountains for skiing and still within easy reach of cities like Lyon, Chambery, Aix Les Bains and Grenoble so it’s not as if we’re going to be cut off from the world.

I can already imagine spending our weekends lazing in a garden (where I can do proper gardening), out on a boat (that we’ll be able to afford to buy one day), fishing, walking or cycling. I can also imagine myself with cash to spare at the end of the month and organizing little trips to Paris, London and Milan for shopping sprees!

But to realize this dream of moving, first of all we have to sell the city pad. This is not going to be an easy task as it’s not an easy property. Think modern factory conversion loft style, big open spaces, metal structure with polished concrete floors and a big price tag.

For Sale

We’ve only had it on the market for a few weeks and have already had a lot of interest, a very low offer and a few visits. Unfortunately however, French strikes got in the way and visits were cancelled but now we’re in business!

We’re marketing the property ourselves and have an agent onboard also; however, that was an experience in itself! After meeting a few we decided to go with one that would actually speak to me! You can read about my run-in with a chauvinistic French estate agent over on Expat Focus.

The house is totally depersonalized and all my knick knacks are hidden away discreetly at the back of cupboards. Nothing is left out, ever, and I clean every day. Cleaning has become a full time occupation for me. Dust is my enemy. The cats have been taught how to act friendly towards potential visitors and everything is neat and tidy. You would never believed that I lived here as I’m the messiest person in France (probably), however, it’s amazing how old habits die fast when you’re motivated enough!

Since yesterday we have had three visits and are currently awaiting an offer. Fingers crossed something will come through soon as I really, really would like to move before being too heavily pregnant!

Has anyone else realized a dream of moving from city to country or vice versa, or experienced moving home whilst pregnant? How was it for you?

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On Monday I turned 30. It was a day that I had been dreading for the last year and yet it came and went so quickly with no major events. No sudden wrinkles, no new aches and pains and no  teeth dropping out. Relief.

In fact the day itself was very pleasant. I had the pleasure of my Mum and Dad’s company for the first time in 9 years, I enjoyed a 2 hour relaxing massage and a lovely Thai meal in the evening, not to mention lots of presents and cards!

And yet, I still cannot believe that I am 30. For me 30 has always been grown up and well on its way to being old. I thought I would be in a different place at age 30 but I’m not and I realize now that there are a lot of things I didn’t achieve whilst I was in my twenties.

Of course I know that 30 is not old, nor is 40. In fact I believe that you’re only as old as you feel but it does feel like a race is on – the race of life and that I’d better get a move on. Why do I feel like this? Is it society’s pressure to be eternally young?

How about you? What age made you feel as if the race was on, or is this something you’ve not experienced?

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I am officially having a pure, Ugly Betty moment. The worst is that it is not just a moment but is going to be my life for the next two years. Worse still is that I have chosen to live this… what can I possibly me talking about?

Ugly Betty and her braces

Braces! That’s what!

I’ve never been happy with my teeth or dents de bonheur as I’m told they’re called in French (teeth of happiness) because of the large gap between my front teeth. I did wear braces when I was younger but the orthodontist messed up and then lost my files when my parents queried why my teeth were still gappy.

A few years ago, I was told that I would have to wear braces on my bottom teeth as they were turning in on each other or risk loosing them as I got older.

So this year I decided to grab the bull by the horns and get my teeth all sorted, in search of a Hollywood Smile.

Today was the big day and I had one set of braces fitted behind my top teeth. Esthetically they’re great as you cannot see them, but practically they’re a disaster as I cannot eat or talk.

Do you notice how you run your tongue around the back of your teeth? Well I never did and now that I can’t I find it impossible to eat. Not to mention chew. I cannot chew because of the spacers they have stuck to my bottom and top teeth to stop the two sets touching and thus ruining all of the dentistry I’m having.  This is already seriously hampering with my food intake meaning I can only eat things like mashed potato and soup. I have to admit that it’s an excellent remedy for dieting but for once in my life I was not trying to loose weight!

In less than a month I will turn 30 and yet here I am sounding like a 12 year each time I open my mouth to speak. Apparently I don’t sound as bad when I speak in English, but when I speak in French it is la cata!

The funniest thing is that I now eat like a granny and speak like a pre-teen!

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A scary thought…

The other day I woke up to BFM radio and to a lively discussion on Sarkozy’s reform of pensionable age and I realized to my horror, that I was going to have to work for longer than I’ve been alive before being eligible for a pension… Not that I thought I was even anywhere near retirement but it had never dawned on me that I’m not yet 30 so have another 32 years left! Talk about depressing…

Which led me to remember how long I have been in France. 13 years this summer. Nearly half my life! Okay, so I spent 4 years back in the UK in the middle of this, but even so, 13 years, 11 of which I have been with Hubby… Does this make me officially Frenglish?

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Photo Credit: Petra Röder, Photo Express

I’ve been feeling a bit depressed about my weight recently and have been completely unable to shift the excess kilos. Any efforts at dieting have been short-lived and resulted in adding to my surplus rather than reducing it. My ludicrous attempts to loose 10 kilos in 10 weeks (see this post) were quickly thwarted by life, and I actually managed to put on 5 kilos along the way!

I have tried to take some steps to loosing weight in the recent weeks. I used to be a dancer. It doesn’t seem like an eternity ago but it must have been, as after a 40 minute drive across town to a dance studio I’d found on the internet I was bitterly disappointed.

As I walked in I realized the receptionist and all the dancers loitering around were about 18 and made me look ancient. They all looked like extras from Pineapple Dance Studios, and I looked just like Louis – the old one (if you don’t know about Pineapple then have a look at some of these videos, they’re a scream!Pineapple Dance Studios on YouTube).

The receptionist showing me around asked how many years ago it had been since I had danced. Note: Not just how long ago, but how many years ago… She kindly advised that their lessons were not really for beginners (she obviously didn’t believe that I had once danced professionally, albeit on ice!) and invited me to attend an open day if I wanted to try… it was a nice let down but I’m a very busy lady and 40 minutes drive across town is just too far and too much time in the car to reflect on the fact that I can no longer move as I once did.

MC Hammer Pants

Things came to a head on my holiday in Portugal when I was forced to wear MC Hammer style pants under dresses, as my dresses had turned themselves into tunics and had become indecent to wear in public. The MCH pants were actually supposed to have been tracksuit bottoms (but are actually harem pants or so I’m told) which I was expecting to wear elegantly with high heels. Not so.

Determined to look better, get fit and loose weight without being so strict that I set myself up for failure as I did last time. So, last Monday I set myself a target of loosing 4 kilos in 4 weeks before my next trip. To celebrate the setting of a realistic target, Hubby and I order Pizza Domino one final time and then weighed ourselves the next morning, hopefully being at our heaviest.

Not just content to do a gentle diet, I decided to embark on a keep fit routine as well and this, my dear readers, in where things started to unravel at an alarming rate.

Tuesday night: 30 minutes on the cross trainer followed by floor exercises and weights. At some point the blood circulation in my feet was cut off (my feet are too fat for my trainers?) and I lost all sensation in my toes! Manically rubbed my feet after and eventually all feeling came back. Great! This might just work, or so I thought.

Wednesday night: Time to add some diversity to my routine. If you’ve bought a packet of Fitness cereal recently (yes, this is how serious I am, even my breakfast cereal is called Fitness!) you would’ve received a free Les Mills DVD; Either Body Balance or Body Pump. I’d managed to eat my way through two boxes so had both DVD’s. I’d heard great things about these DVD’s so aching all over from the day before (don’t laugh, because I couldn’t so much my abdominal muscles hurt), I motivated myself to get stuck in and popped the Body Balance on in the machine.

Piglet’s Comedy Club

Setting: Living room, yoga mat on floor, television playing fitness DVD, a mixture of Yoga and Pilates.

Character: Piglet, dressed in holey tracksuit, bare feet (trainers too tight) and looking motivated. Spare tyre round middle held in place by too tight t-shirt.

Scene 1: Lady on DVD starts demonstrating the routine, Piglet to follow. Downward Dog. Grunt. Lady effortlessly slides from position to position, throwing in a plank from time to time. Piglet scrabbles around on all fours, bum in air, back on all fours in order to stand up, whoops, she’s toppled over. Another grunt. Ridiculous laughter. She tries to do the Plank but fails miserably and then splat on her face. Scene repeats.

Scene 2: 15 minutes later.
Frightfully fit ladies on DVD still doing graceful pilates moves. Piglet still flailing around in all directions. Time to lie on front on the floor. Extend arm and opposite leg, bend both and grab foot from behind. Piglet’s body will not move, hand grapples frantically trying to find foot. Ladies on DVD carry out said move with elegance, Piglet falls over without having held foot.

End Credits: Ladies on DVD are honed, toned and fighting fit. Piglet cannot get back up. Stays on floor. Crys. Is old. Spare tyre still there.

Yep, that’s right; I must have done something wrong as I wasn’t able to walk for three days after! Imagine the old ladies you sometimes see at the Dr’s surgery or at the market. The one’s wearing the contention tights and super sensible orthopedic shoes because they’ve had a hip replacement job? Well I was walking just like them. I couldn’t stand up, sit down or even turnaround without being in dreadful pain so I had to add to the hole in the French social security budget.

Miracously my hip is better now, but the Dr wants me to get an x-ray to check it out as he thinks there could be some joint damage. He’s also banned me from any sporty activity for the time being. Is this what ageing is about? And what about loosing weight?

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