Saturday, October 25, 2014

No further news from Strachur.

The hair-do was a success. At least I now look sane.

Panic continues. I am grateful for your advice. But Cat, the sensible approach doesn't work – I'm not frightened of anything in particular, just frightened. Well, perhaps of my increasing inability to cope with my husband's increasing frailty. But nothing can be done about that – indeed, the longer we can continue to slide down the familiar grooves, the happier for both.

I got a few things done yesterday, not including silver-polishing. But whatever is accomplished, two or three more chores spring up in replacement. I have a good deal of sympathy for Hercules' difficulties with the Hydra.

Yesterday I re-read the brilliant “found poem” Alexander constructed from this blog for my 80th birthday and printed on a tea towel. The link is to the blog itself, when I copied the poem out for you. We have had the tea towel framed; it hangs in dark corner with some old samplers. And it clearly shows that the notes of anxiety and fear go back a long way. This time of year is always difficult, with the encroaching darkness. I am drinking soothing herbal teas.

Will I feel better if I find my keys in Strathardle next week? Or will I just cling to them hysterically?

Valerie, thank you for the report on The Knowledgeable Knitter. I've ordered it.

Knitting went well yesterday – I did a scallop for the edging of the Unst Bridal Shawl before returning to Archie's sweater. It is getting on nicely – madelinetosh produces a beautiful, smooth fabric. I am about to start the ribbing for the neck placket (top-down, remember). I don't think there's any hope of reaching an easy bit before we head off for the wedding – less than a week now. Greek Helen will be here tomorrow. But once the placket is established and the interval between buttonholes determined, it may prove easy enough.  


  1. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Is it time to consider getting help in for your husband? My mother-in-law had an aide come 3 times per week to help with bathing and hair-washing, and it was a blessing. Of course, she resisted at first, but the aides were professional and kind, and it was so much safer for her. She also had physical therapists come to her home for a while and that helped keep her stronger longer.

    Beverly in NJ

  2. Anonymous12:44 PM

    Sending you good wishes, Jean.
    I wrote to you at the Googlemail address you give, but I think you may not have received my email.

    Take care.
    Cathy on the Pelion

  3. Ellen1:06 PM

    I think that Beverly in NJ is right. It seems that you are rightfully overwhelmed by your husbands needs, the getting him to all of his appointments, and probably his temperament, to say nothing of maintaining two households, and meeting your own needs. Getting an assistant for him might soon be the only way to continue on.
    Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real mental health diagnosis, and common to those of us who live in Northern climates with short days and less sunlight. Sitting with a very bright full spectrum daylight lamp for a couple of hours a day is a proven treatment, and might be a big help to your feelings of panic, with the added plus of letting you see to your knitting with better lighting. (there are some models that are purpose made; the usual Ott lamps that people get to assist with crafting don't have sufficient wattage to be therapeutic. Ask your daughter to help you search for a proper one on line)

    And please know that you have an extra 250 of us online friends who care about you!

  4. Have a lot of sympathy and a hug for the anxiety, I get bad anxiety too, it's no fun at all. The "Jesus prayer" helps me sometimes (Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner) repeated

    Not being able to do the things you used to or want to do can be anxiety producing I think. If there are the resources to get more help it might be worth considering?

  5. P.S. Well done for going to the hairdresser - I find that an anxious business!

  6. Anonymous10:04 PM

    There may also be some small things you can put in place to reduce your daily workload. Are you able to simplify the preparation and tidying away of meals? Could you have one or two easy days in the kitchen? Maybe your husband's dentist could visit your husband at home? Once you are home after the wedding, there will be Christmas to think about! Some of the online companies offer gift wrapping services and will mail to the recipient. If you are planning on sending presents to your grandchildren you could perhaps ask your children to help you with this and you could still write out your gift tags and send these through the post. If you get on with your new cleaning lady maybe she could do some additional chores for you. Do you do your supermarket shop online? There may be a number of ways you could save time and energy without compromising your standards and which cumulatively will give you more knitting time! All good wishes Jean.

  7. Jean, I live with my 83-year-old mother-in-law, and I remember my own grandparents and parents in their 80s, and I believe that anxiety and panic come with the territory of aging as surely surliness and bad decision-making come with teenager-hood. I think it must be a feature of the brain chemistry.

    Having said that, my MIL has had great success with a very small dose of an SSRI, well below what would be prescribed for depression. It has not eliminated her worry and fretting but it has damped it down to a manageable level. The same thing was true for my father. It might be worth having a conversation with your GP about it. At the low dose prescribed for anxiety the chance of side effects are minimal. I am not a doctor, mind you, but I would at least talk to your doctor about it.