Sunday 4 November 2012

A Chronic Handbag: Day 4 NHBPM

Is it Day 4 already? Time to pick my next topic for NHBPM. This one is a lot easier to pick, unlike yesterday when my brain melted and leaked out my ear whilst I wasn't looking. Though I have resorted to typing flat on my back with my legs up in the air. No blood pressure, doesn't allow much in the way of glamour.

Write about what's inside your bag/purse/backpack everyday.

A view inside my handbag is not for the faint of heart. The interior is somewhat similar in appearance to my teenage sons' bedrooms I mentioned in the first post, though thankfully minus the boy funk. It isessentially a dodgy lucky dip. You may get a used tissue, or an errant glucose jelly bean. You most certainly wont get to your phone before it finishes ringing as you fight your way through the various bits and pieces that seem to accumulate at an alarming rate.

The running joke growing up was my mother's handbag. It was amazing what she could shove in that A4 sized Tardis. Need a bandaid? She'd have a box. Pop a button? She had a sewing kit. Runny nose. There was a hanky, or six. Pen. Magnifying glass. Hair pins. Mints. Scissors. Aspirin. Whatever you wanted it was in there. And it was heavy. We knew she'd never be mugged as no thief could make a run for it carrying that ten tonne vinyl brick. And now here I am with my own overladen handbag. It seems I am becoming my mother, one bandaid at a time

There was a time when I had a small handbag.
 Oh how I miss you small red handbag.
Or a groovy and very organised brief case.
 It took me forever to find a green briefcase for work and now it just sits and gathers dust.

But that was pre-sick. Where a purse and a phone. Maybe some lippy and a little pack of tissues were all that were needed. Now I pack for all possible health contingencies.  Now I require a satchel/messenger bag that is practical to carry, across my body so as to not pop a shoulder. And large enough to carry all my various needs, though some days I think a pack horse would be easier. 
 Hello unattractive but very practical satchel.

These days the contents of my handbag reflect a life with chronic illness (I have removed the used tissues as no one needs to be subjected to that).

Where to begin. Lets see.....
1. There's a water bottle. Anyone with Dysautonomia must keep up with fluids wherever they are. Even in the middle of Winter. We dehydrate and overheat rapidly, and many, like myself, are already hypovolemic (low blood volumne) so we must suck down large quantities of fluids (2-3 litres a day or even more in Summer) throughout the day. I love this insulated Thermos water bottle as it keeps the water icy cold for hours and has a straw so I don't have to be upright to drink.
2. A fan. I overheat quickly, even in Winter thanks to anhidrosis (reduced sweating). The other day I was only sweating behind my right knee despite it being 30C. Sadly a single knee's worth of sweat is not enough to cool the human body. This cute little Japanese number goes everywhere and has been a life saver.
3. A Little Umbrella. Well really that's just one of those, 'just because' things. It makes me happy and doubles to make any drink a cocktail.
4. Spare Undies. Anyone with gastric issues will understand this one. Life with chronic diarrhoea is not glamorous in the slightest.
5. Loo paper. When you are forced to use public restrooms as often as I am you learn to take your own. Those thin, waxy squares of supposed loo paper should be banned, and the person who invented them drawn and quartered.
6. Puke bag. This covers the other end. Dysautonomia likes to play with your gastric system. and sometimes you just don't know which end, or if you're lucky both ends, will explode.
7. Lippy. A splash of red lippy can make you feel much better on a crappy day.
8. Lip balm. Chronic dehydration equals dried, cracked and bleeding lips. Lip balm is a must.
9. Purse and medical papers: filled with all the contact details of all my various specialists plus referral letters.
10. Bag of meds: or as I like to call it my STOP Bag. It contains all my emergency meds to stop my body doing all it's functions at full speed. Something to stop me puking. Something to stop me peeing. Something to stop me pooing. Something to stop pain. Something to stop fainting. Something to stop my tachycardia etc.
11. Hand cream. Again dehydration and frequent hand washing from all those loo stops means they are often super dry.
12. Glucose jelly beans: One thing that has gotten worse over the last 6 yrs is the sudden drops in blood sugars. I go from fine to hypoglycaemic (shaky and feeling like death) in a heartbeat. So these tasty little numbers are always in my bag.
13. Phone: I can't afford to be without one now, for all the 'just in case' moments. Mind you if my brain fog would have to remind me to charge it that would be helpful. It also allows me to connect to my support system on Twitter and Facebook at any time of the day or night. A vital function as many of us well know.
14. A flyer: for a local market that I keep hoping I'll be well enough to attend.
15. Sunglasses: My eyes have a lot of trouble with rapidly changing light as my pupils are now sluggish, yet another present from Dysautonomia. Driving on a treed road and dealing with the dappled and rapidly changing shade, leaves me with a headache and a distinct lack of focus. Even straight sunshine is now hard to deal with.
16. More lip balm: because you can never have enough.
17. A kazoo: A bloggy friend in the US sent me this red kazoo to cheer me up. Every time I see it I smile. I can no longer play it now as blowing triggers my touchy valsalva, which means my pulse pressure completely collapses. Which for lay readers, means my heart essentially stops beating and the blood just sits there, as I have the same amount of pressure in the systolic (squeeze) and diastolic (relax) parts of my blood pressure. And let me tell you, that feels really unpleasant. No more balloon blowing, whistling, singing or laughing either. Stupid buzzkill of a disorder. Did I mention his name is Kenneth?
18. Pens: you can never have enough.
19. Coin purse: for all the parking metres outside all the hospitals and clinics I visit.
20. Bulldog clip: just because.
21: Salt sachets: Dysautonomia is one of the few disorders you encounter where you must increase your salt intake. Combined with the increased fluids it helps to increase your blood volumne and thus your blood pressure. One of my meds Florinef actually requires salt to work. So whilst the rest of the world is  on the low salt bandwagon, those of us with autonomic dysfunction are chugging it down at every opportunity. At first this was hard to get used to but now I can eat a teaspoon at a time and have been known to down a sachet at various events just to make it through.

So there you go the contents of my handbag.

Michelle :)

Earlier Instalments of NHBPM
Day I: Why do I write about my health.
Day II: Find a quote and use it as inspiration.
Day III: I don't know about this, but I'd like to.

This song really has nothing to do with the post other than I was listening to Paramore whilst I was writing and I like it. Plus, I was lacking the brain capacity to think of a more fitting musical accompaniment.

1 comment:

All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

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