April at last!

I think it’s mainly children who wish time would pass more quickly – until their next birthday, until the first day of school, until Christmas, that kind of thing. Adults less so (especially when it comes to birthdays.) But for me, for once, and very selfishly, I am utterly thrilled that March is over. It was an unpleasantly challengingly month for a number of reasons and they are now all behind me – and I seem to have survived with all mental faculties intact! (No rude comments from friends, please.)

My health caused a few problems, and consequently there was lots of admin and discussion with my medical aid. It’s all sorted now and Discovery Health has covered all hospital, medication and covid testing costs in full. I’m deeply relieved, it was a very large amount of money! The health issue is being resolved with help from beloved friends and, of course, dear Andrew.
My GP switched me to a different medication for hypertension (it’s been one of my chronic conditions for over 20 years) and after two days my feet and ankles swelled to the size of adult puffer fish, just like when I was pregnant 28 years ago. I wasn’t best pleased, and now have to take a diuretic daily on top of all the other goodies in my morning pharmaceutical smoothie.
Then there was the seemingly silly incident with Choccie, my cat: it is now her habit in the morning around 5h00 to approach my head on my pillow and pat my face with her paw. I’m usually half-awake already and, since her patting becomes less gentle and a lot firmer quite quickly, in order to make me get up and feed her, I sometimes cover my face and head with the blankets. She managed to catch me right in the middle of my open left eye on Sunday morning with all claws out – she was in a more impatient mood than usual.

Bad cat!

The pain was excruciating but I thought it was probably normal and would just stop eventually. Three hours later, it had not and I’d patched it up with some cotton wool and masking tape to keep it closed. Even with only one eye, I was online (!) and was emailing my friend Kathryn in the US, who made me aware that this could well be more serious than I’d thought. My GP, an amazing man who never stops working (his rooms are open 7 days a week, every week, and he treats homeless patients at no charge), told me to get to him immediately. Andrew drove me there and I am extremely fortunate to have had no serious corneal damage whatsoever, just a “mild corneal abrasion”. Well, all I can say is that, if that was mild, other people who have eye accidents have all my sympathy.

By the next day, I could remove the patch and put in antibiotic drops to prevent infection, and I was able to drive. Choccie was in the dog box for a few days, even though I know she didn’t deliberately mean to hurt me.

My mother developed some covid-like symptoms and went to be tested yesterday. It took over 24 hours to get the results, which is absurd in my opinion, especially for someone who is 84, but she has tested negative – so great relief there!
The other big hurdle this month was emptying my house of Philip’s furniture and appliances, so kindly left in situ for my use by his children (but only because they were forced to under instruction from the executor!)
The reason for this is that my mother is moving into a retirement village and there isn’t room for everything she has. A lot of tables and chairs and other things were made by my dad and my grandfather, both carpenters, and I am certainly not ready to see the back of them just yet. I know my mother is pleased that I will be able to accommodate them, but I was filled with sadness at seeing Philip’s possessions being loaded into the back of a truck. Also, in sorting through cupboards and drawers, I found a few small things of his that I’d forgotten about. Spectacles, his old leather wallet, his bow-ties, that kind of thing. It seems that the feeling of missing someone never really goes away. I’ve turned one of his bow-ties into a brooch.

Shirts and blouses with collars aren’t my style at all, but I do have a loose white cotton blouse that I think this will work with. I couldn’t bear to have the elastic round my neck so that got chopped off and I stitched a brooch pin to the back of it. I’ve had the shirt for over a year, ordered online from a clothing shop I like very much that was having a sale, but I still haven’t yet worn it! I’ve come across quite a few items of clothing that I’ve bought and never ever worn, so perhaps now is the time to be ruthless and pass on what I clearly don’t need.

I was also obliged to fit in a trip to a dermatologist because my GP didn’t like the look of a mole on my back. I’m fair-skinned and have many moles here and there (have had at least three removed in the past), but I’m at an age where it’s not a good idea to put things off indefinitely so I had to wait a couple of weeks for an appointment with someone who has apparently has an excellent reputation. His diagnosis – seborrheic keratosis or, as lay people refer to it, a “senile wart”. How charming. Senile wart indeed!

My two closest friends have been having a terribly hard time with their health lately, which also affects their mental health. It’s a vicious cycle. One friend, whom I’ve known for over 38 years, has moved temporarily to Cape Town for eight weeks of radiation and chemotherapy at a highly respected cancer care clinic. Unfortunately for her, things aren’t going quite according to plan. At 57, she is two years younger than me, and it is a very distressing situation.

Some of you will be going into spring, and those of us in the southern hemisphere are going into autumn. Autumn really is my favourite season because Cape Town starts getting rain again and the garden just thrives. I usually get the urge to knit something at this time of year but that hasn’t happened yet. I seem to be hooked on beads, so I’m just going with the flow — and grateful that there is any flow at all :)


25 thoughts on “April at last!

  1. katechiconi

    Oh, what a worry about your eye… It sounds as if you’ve been having a very trying month and really deserve a plain-sailing April. Roll on the spring, a little rain, gentler weather – and good health. Take good care of yourself, my friend – and keep going with those gorgeous beads!

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I have got off very lightly, all things considered, and it’s people around me and in my adopted country in general who are going through horrendous times. I feel almost fraudulent when I consider what some of my friends are going through, and as for 90% of people in South Africa – well, the hardships are utterly appalling. But this isn’t the appropriate place for me to have a rant about how things are being (mis)managed by the government or about politics in general so I will desist. All I will say is that I’ve had to stop myself from reading the online news for the last month and also try to adopt other strategies to keep various anxieties under control as much as possible. I am exceptionally fortunate in so many ways that complaining about anything would be nothing less than pure egocentricity, but I have realised in the last few weeks that I can’t help anyone else if I don’t look after myself first. I’m taking care, thank you xx

      1. katechiconi

        Yes… it’s humbling to realise how many of our problems are totally first-world and selfish. Do continue to take care of yourself, as there are people out there who love and need you, and you have many friends.

  2. Gail

    Sending love and hugs and hoping that April is a wonderful magical month for you. Glad your eye is better. Wish we could meet for lunch.

  3. Rainbow Junkie

    Sorry to hear about your health issues. Sounds as if it is a difficult time all round. Still you have your beads and all your lovely makes. I think you need to make sure your cat can’t get in your bedroom. When we had a cat and we allowed her to wander anywhere at night, the first night she came in the bedroom and tried to sleep on my head. She was restricted at night after that to downstairs.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      When it comes to Choccie, she is the boss. I try to remind her of this from time to time but it falls on deaf ears. Every precaution will be taken to ensure that I never get clawed in the eye ever again!

  4. cedar51

    Jill, I agree that some months are better “be gone” – I’m hoping that my April is the beginning of 2021, I had postponed the official NY because of my issues. And it would be great if you could be on tap with 2021 a little better, as well.

    And I too have disengaged with a whole lot of people, even those who keep nagging me to catch up. Some just do not understand that I come first. One person has twice commented that I “was out” but hadn’t got in touch. The first time, I was out for tests and on the way back dropped into local cafe for a toasted cheese sandwich as I had to be out earlier – the other time, they caught site of me near the local cafe, and got all gushy over the fact that again I was out! Never mind the fact that when I got home, I was instantly napping…

    And I see that you are doing that as well…taking care of thee. It’s hard to disengage with others…especially when some probably think they are doing you a favour. But for me, now it’s about avoiding certain local parts in case I should inadvertently come in contact with known people.

    take care Jill…

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Cedar 51 – I’ve just gone through your blog posts and About pages but, for the life of me, cannot find any reference to your first name. Am I being stupid and missing it somewhere??

      1. cedar51

        Hello Jill, don’t worry – but for what it’s worth, I’m now known as Catherine … maybe I should changed my “about page” but on the other hand it took me ages to find your first name, I had to scroll through comments and decide on what % was it Jill. It’s interesting how sometimes we comment, with quite the wrong name of the poster who has blogged something… it’s only in the last decade, I guess that we have become less anonymous on the WWW :-)

      2. Nice Piece of Work Post author

        I’m just glad that it wasn’t my faulty sleuthing capabilities. My second name is Katherine (with a K, not a C like you) and I always thought if I had a daughter that was the name I’d choose. When it came to actually producing the baby, however, she did not look like a Catherine at all, plus I’d forgotten that I would also need to find a name that the father would be happy with! While I was pregnant I’d compiled a list of possibiilities, none of which her dad liked, however, which was fair enough. I had particularly liked the name Pauline, but that was the name of my mother-in-law, and in the Jewish faith you are not supposed to give a child the name of someone who is still living. As a result, my daughter was unnamed for over two weeks until we were able to reach consensus. Finally, we settled on Alexandra Kreuz Goldberg, Kreuz being my surname and Goldberg her dad’s. We didn’t hyphenate the two surnames. Goodness, how I ramble. Anyway, I love the name Catherine, or Katherine, or Kathryn, however it is spelt, and have also never ever felt comfortable with my own first name. A story for another day! Nice to meet you, Catherine :) I’ll shut up now.

    2. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      But in the meantime, I am not finding it at all hard to disengage with some people. Either I should have disengaged a long time ago, or I’m getting better at doing this as I get older. Or both! I feel no obligation whatsoever to people who have an opinion about my life choices and express it, especially if it is a negative one, unless I have asked for it. I have cut quite a few people out of my life in the last few weeks, not by being nasty or telling them I have no wish to see them again, but just by mentally switching them off and not responding to them any longer. Try it – you might find it more liberating and refreshing than you realise!!! :)
      I am definitely feeling better with all those unpleasant things behind me, thank you for your kind response.

      1. cedar51

        thanks – on disengaging.

        One thing I did some months ago was turn off my “answerphone on my landline” so that no one can leave a message. About a decade I stopped having to deal with a great many messages, but I kept it going. It’s nice not to come home to a blipping phone!

        I’m still trying to disengage with a “friend” who feels the need to just drop by….which is something I never do for anyone. I make contact and then if it’s a yes, we go from there. Her response is always “I was in the area….” if I’m not hear I get an email later, “oh you must better, you weren’t home…”


      2. Nice Piece of Work Post author

        I doubt that you require my or anybody’s advice on how best to deal with this “friend”, but if you do, please ask – I have the perfect method lined up in my head and ready to share *hahahahahha*

      3. Nice Piece of Work Post author

        And also, when I did have a landline, which I haven’t for many years ago, I refused to have an answering machine. More than once I was contacted by Telkom because they were offering a built-in answering service for free, they found it hard to believe that I was insistent on not having one ever, free or not! One of my disengagement strategies is to leave my cell phone at home when I go out (on shortish trips, like supermarket, visit to my mother, etc). This has made a big difference to me. Isn’t it crazy!

  5. insearchofitall

    It sounds to me like you have been endlessly hammered with one thing and then another. That wears at the resilience of our being. The eye scratch by a cat could have been very costly and I’m not talking about money. Glad you were moved to have it looked at. Something so small can be our undoing. Love what you did with the bow tie. It really is hard to let some things go.
    Hang on a bit longer. I am a big fan of autumn and winter. Not so much summer which will just show up one day and seem endless. Spring has come in like a lion.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Hanging on, hanging in. Not doing too badly, all things considered and, as I have said, I have the support and kindness of friends without whom etc etc.
      I also kept a few of Philip’s jerseys and the fleece jacket he wore when he went walking in the mountains. I get a lot of wear out of the jacket when it gets cold here.

  6. Going Batty in Wales

    That sounds like a month best finished with. I’m glad your health problems proved to be nothing too serious. There are still things of my husband’s which I can’t let go after 10 years so be gentle with yourself. Right now you need whatever comforts you.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Thanks for your kind comments. Unfortunately, sometimes what comforts me the most is chocolate – which is a problem for my waistline….*laughs and rolls eyes at same time*

  7. Linne

    What a month you had! I’m glad it’s over for you. And that cat scratch . . . I was impressed by your ingenuity, using masking tape to hold the cotton in place. I like that sort of thing myself.

    I’m wishing you a much happier, healthier autumn and winter. We are into spring here, but the nights are still chilly to cold. And soon it will be too hot!

    That was a great use of the bow tie, I think; I hope you wear that shirt now, too. It looks, from what I can see in the photo, a bit like something Katharine Hepburn would have worn with lovely tailored slacks. And I’d add a woolen wrap . . . but that’s me.

    I like having things with me that remind me of those who are gone now. I have a pillow my Mum gave me and it goes everywhere with me; it even went to the UK and Norway! But in general I’ve always preferred old, worn things, things with a story, even if I had no idea what it was. And old table that I know people sat at, eating, talking, laughing, maybe even fighting or crying. Those things ‘speak’ to me in a way I can’t really explain.

    Anyway, it was lovely to see more of your work, too. Those scarf/necklaces are fabulous!

    Take care, Jill, and have a lovely day!

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      I have another of his bow-ties, a larger grey one which I might just leave as it is for a while in case one day my style changes a little and I’ll be back in shirts with proper collars and blouses with pussy-cat bows. But chances are, not so much. Maybe I could stitch it onto a bag…
      And talking of things that remind me of people I’ve lost, I found an old necklace of my gran’s today in an ancient wooden jewellery box made by my dad. It’s coral and very pretty, and goes easily round my neck twice. I can’t honestly say that I ever remember her wearing it but she must have done at some point. I also once had a beautiful simple diamond ring given to her by a lovely man who wanted to marry her after my grandfather died. I used to call him Gaga, because I was only learning to talk at that stage of her life. She never did marry him, which she once said she regretted, and after her death the ring was stolen in one of the many burglaries I’ve had over the years.

      You take care, too, and enjoy the beginning of spring xx


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