I feel a bit swamped at the moment. #drowninggirlclub (It’s on the tattoo wishlist)

Think i’m not reading enough, working a lot (the main problem) and when I am there it’s quite stressful, not getting much time to hold any kind of substantial conversation with my number 1 that isn’t about the dog.

On the upside I am getting sunshine, exercise and fresh air when I’m not at work so I know there’s good things happening but my feet just don’t feel like they’re on the ground.

I wanted to write more in-depth about a couple of things from the last few weeks, but for now I’ll just record them in case I forget.

1 was the little boy Hogan barked at who initially looked quite afraid and then it was as if he made a decision not to be. He ran back towards the dog and I with his hands clasped in front of him and said “It’s okay, it’s okay – he’s just woofing at my ladybird” and held his hands up.

Little bugger choked me up in a second.

2 was my attempt at getting Hogan swimming.

I’d walked for hours on a hot sticky midweek evening, a bikini under my clothes, and every spot i thought would be free around the lake was full of friendly dreads smoking weed, or boisterous less-friendly teenagers and girls screaming at their friends for not being brave enough to jump in. We’d taken a bit of a jungle route off the path and were stung and cut by nettles and thorns.

I swung around and started back towards the car almost admitting defeat, when we ventured into the woods and found a perfect little spot where a woman was getting dressed having taken a dip. I explained my plan of testing Hogan with deep water and she encouraged me to try it here.

The dirt was wet and smooth leading into the lake’s edge where a felled tree looked as if it bobbed in the water a foot out from the shore. The woman had a scruffy lurcher type dog who’s name I’m sad to have forgotten. There were other people’s things there on the dry bits of earth and Hogan’s excited patter muddied their t-shirts and towels but the woman seemed relaxed about it and was lovely to the dog.

Hogan settled and I pulled my clothes off, stuffing them in my bag as my feet slowly slipped backwards and the mud came up through my toes. The woman offered to take the dogs lead while I dropped into the water sitting on the shiny tree which I now found to be steady and sure. She passed me the lead while we chatted about anything and Hogan looked at me with his head on a tilt appearing to ask where the bottom half of my body had gone as I’d slipped into the murky lake.

As she sat down she turned slightly away and pulled some knickers on under her dress. I felt guilty for disturbing her without realising she’d not got that far in redressing but the easy conversation we had had made me grateful that she’d not been embarrassed or too uncomfortable to speak to me when we’d come trundling into her spot.

I tried hard to coax Hogan into the water and I could tell he was feverishly curious but not quite willing to take the plunge. In the end I popped off the back of the tree and into the open water beyond it and he hopped about the long grass covered mounds of earth on the bank. He huffed and boffed so I lured him closer to me with his ball and he stepped out onto the narrow tree. He half slipped off with panic in his face regained his position but was worried more so than he had been. I stoked him and reassured him and then gently pulled him in to the water with me. His eyes went wide and I could almost hear him shouting “Jesus Christ are you crazy!” At me as he frantically paddled around me and then climbed me like a set of stairs, claws in my thighs and tummy. I pulled us back over to the tree and he hopped out and shook repeatedly. the dark spots that had become more prominent under his fur, getting weaker with each shake of his body. He seemed a lot cooler but also more on edge so I followed him out and tried to dress over my sodden bikini. I’d brought a towel but didn’t really use it and we said our thanks and farewells to the kind woman and walked out of the woods with bare feet. Back on the path I could see the dog was a bit unsure so I tried to reassure him. The tennis ball came out and I think he’d forgiven me.

On the walk back we passed a pond that I’d actually forgotten was there. Tom and I spotted still-tailed frogs and frogspawn there earlier in the year. I felt warm and happy walking past it again, in the heat of the summer, this time it was moss covered and i had Hogan in tow.

He went over to sniff at some long wide blades of grass against the edge of the water and with no warning at all, as I’ve witnessed once before in my old canine friend Max, leapt over the long grass and into the pond. I took a few big strides over there in case he might have needed a hand out but he calmly swam in a tight circle and dragged himself up the side and shook his body covering me in little green bubbles. The look on his face appeared, inexplicably, to shoulder some blame my way. It was comforting to see him move a bit more naturally in the water.

It felt good talk to a few strangers more than just the briefest of chats in passing. It feels like a remedy to some of the darker things we read about or see in our jobs somehow. I’ve found the dog great for that already but an old chap Tom and I met on a long walk talking about crops is my favourite so far. I think he was Tom from the future and our future is something I’m excited about while recognising that I’m living it every next day. ❤

Advertisements

Words haven’t come so freely to me recently.

I’ll pick it up again soon – I’m promising myself. I’m also reading slowly, even though it’s a riveting, vital book, with the odd wonderful analogy. I think I need some poetry at the same time.

All this fresh air feels good though. Fresh air and dog hair.

Mirena McGonagoll

A little whole ago I started writing something about my experience of the Mirena Coil. Then I thought I should wait a bit longer for any potential freak events in the first few weeks and until I had my 6 week check. Now my first draft has disappeared so I’m starting afresh!

I used to be a bit scared of the idea of a foreign body permanently inside my body in that way. I had less of an issue with the implant because I could see and feel that little centipede in my arm but the coil seemed more complex and a thing I couldn’t really keep tabs on.

But then I didn’t like having these hormones swimming around my whole body (I’m not sure the coil is actually any different in this way but it seems it), my implant stopped being right for me after 5 good years and I was tired, (even more) emotional, and bleeding in a low key but persistent and inconvenient way. So I pretty swiftly whipped the implant out.

I read loads of NHS stuff and then a few forums online – loads of ridiculousness but also some helpful accounts of the implant just not working anymore in the same way it has in the past.

I thought a lot about the causation of this – was it that my body had changed? Was it saying “you can’t get away with no periods forever darlin’, you’re gonna have to work harder to not make more humans now you’re 27”? Or was it that I weighed ever so slightly more? Is there some kind of time x tolerance relationship where after a while your body starts to adapt to the progesterone?

Anyway, I don’t have an answer so I’m sorry about that. Though it makes me thinks it’s likely that it’s close to the first option. That bodies change and although the first implant was tiptop for three whole years, the next one might have been up against more in my body and so maybe it started to run out/ be less effective a bit early. Either way, it did the crucial job and with baby, I was not. 👍

I thought about the pill again, (only progestogen though due to migraines) and had to go on a pill if I wanted some protection before anything else long term anyway. It felt good to begin with, the cloud lifted, I had energy again and I didn’t have to wear anything other than knickers for the first time in a while, Yeehah!

However, it would appear that shift work and any form of medication that is ideally taken at the same time everyday do not marry well. I was good about taking it when I was younger, I was always having to counsel my friends through missed pills or unexpected saucy encounters rather than it being me who’d forgotten but now it seemed I just couldn’t get it together. Once i’d realised this, I tried pretty hard. It was only for a month or so.

I knew I didn’t want the nuisance of a pill in my settled little life – how privileged I am to be able to say that – so I read about the other options.

I naturally landed on the intrauterine system ‘IUS’ / Mirena Coil because it wasn’t metal and although it was a foreign body it was small, appeared well designed and I felt the research I did gave me an accurate picture of what to expect on both the best and worst possible experiences.

I like the idea of the hormone being delivered locally, the fact I didn’t have to think about it while it was there working dilligently for 5 whole years (it helpfully made me realise that I’d be 32 when I need to have it removed or changed which threw up it’s own mental conundrums!) and the way it sort of doubly prevented pregnancy…

So I arranged to have the Mirena Coil fitted (except I’d mistakenly called it Minerva so that is now my little coil’s name) at my local surgery in Surrey.

As an aside, I’d had a few cervix and other female repoductive related appointments and treatments while I’d been with this particular surgery – in fact i think they were my only reasons for visiting the doctor – and I cannot fault them. I persistently gave them great feedback because I was going there for things that actually never sounded very pleasant and they were always wonderful even if the actual situation wasn’t.

Then I realised I was actually working the day I’d booked it and I started to get a bit worried that it wouldn’t be until I had moved to another area that I’d be able to get it fitted and that I’d have to keep hopelessly trying to stay on course with the pills. But alas, the Surrey surgery pulled through and I went to see a beautifully gentle young doctor called Dr Uddin.

Dr Uddin was a bit of a women’s health specialist and seemed to be quite keen and interested in my reasons and what I’d read. We touched on how lucky we are in the UK, to have access to options and it was nice to be able to chat with her as the appointment booked out for the procedure was comparatively long. The nurse was lovely and used to be police so we talked a bit about that.

Of note: just like there is no universal bikini wax position, there is no universal smear test – vulva based medical procedure – position, all doctors appear to have their own way of describing how to lay down and open your legs.

Now, the actual process I found interesting –

I think the first thing was speculum (standard) and then for her to see which angle my womb sat at. This was a strange experience. She said it was slightly posterior which I think means it’s slightly tipped back.

She said she wouldn’t use local anaesthetic unless it was very painful for me but it was nice to know the option was there should I be / have a sensitive flower.

Then she measured my womb I think? With a stick? In my head the thing looks like a tiny version of those poles you see at a ford in the road in the UK with measurements. But this hurt a fair amount and I think I breathed ‘fuck’ at the point that the ford stick went through my cervix.

She let me know what she was doing when she was doing it and what would happened next. I remember saying that I had a brief quite strong sensation that I needed to pee and then not much else. She made me feel like if that did happen it’d be as acceptable as it not happening so I relaxed (not all the way relaxed) and didn’t wee. Champion.

When she said she was going to insert the coil I was worried but it turns out that just goes through the ford stick then the ford stick comes out so that was a breeze in the pain stakes.

They both said I made the least fuss about the pain and that I was brave but I almost felt they were disappointed. I wondered if I should have made a bigger deal out of it and if then i might have been offered a biscuit or something. There was no biscuit, just an “I was brave for my coil installation today badge” in my mind.

She cut the strings and said “your partner might feel some discomfort at first when you have sex” then she looked at my face, gave me a look that seemed to say ‘if it’s less discomfort than having the coil fitted, I wouldn’t be too worried’, and then said “but thats not for you to worry about.” 💁🏾‍♀️

She later described these ‘strings’ as a bit like fishing line which I found curious. Apparently it softens and curls back on itself overtime. I wasn’t worried but I also didn’t want T to suffer any as a result of this.

I happened to get this addition to my human form on one of my last shifts with my very special team who I was sad to be leaving. The doctor told me not to go to work but I didn’t think that was at all necessary. The pain following that was like the worst period I’d had. I’ve been lucky I never really got heavy or painful periods but this was a good womb shot of hot deep pain and it persisted for the rest of the day. I was sure to tell my uncomfortable male 49 year old crew mate all about it.

I woke up the next morning feeling like I’d dodged a bullet. No pain, a little discomfort but nothing really.

Then I remembered that the doctor had said I’d have to keep taking the pill for the next 6 weeks until the coil was checked and was in the right position. So I knocked one of those back and settled in to triple the hormones for a month or so.

I’d been really lucky. Very little pain, very little of anything else. And then about 4 weeks later I had a ten day, painful, bright red period. Again not the end of the world but because it was so different to anything I was used to I was worried that the coil had moved and gone through the wall of my womb or something and I realised that was the main downside for me about this – that you just don’t know what’s going on you just have to trust it’s all ok until someone can have a look.

All was well though, this caused a slight inconvenience, in that I had to be prepared for more than knickers for a week or so (I love knickers) and had to reschedule my 6 week check for a week later than I had done.

I’d moved house in this time (and job and life) and so it was at a new surgery and with a nurse and it was super quick.

Speculum in, quick look, “yep, all looks well” and I was away to float around the town in my dress and feel like I’d achieved something when it’s been completely out of my hands.

I think Minerva, my Mirena is settled and just doing her work. I would emphatically recommend this if I thought everyone’s experience would be as good as mine has so far but then I recommended the implant to everyone for the first 5 years during the golden era and that ended up in a bin. I think the thing with a lot of these options is that they might work for you straight away but if you’re growing and adapting and progressing in your body they might not be the perfect fit forever.

I love the NHS, I love that I feel I have options available to me as a woman who can make decisions about her own health and reproduction (or not).

At the same time I appreciate that the things I can sometimes talk flippantly about or things i could get for free in the UK are things people have died for and are dying while trying to obtain. There are treatments or human rights that they’re being denied to women at the same time as I am receiving this for being a UK citizen.

It’s just a coil, it just stops me getting pregnant and might stop me bleeding sometimes but I’m lucky to have it and to be able to speak freely to my doctor, my family, my partner and to the internet about it.

💃🏻

Update as of approximately 2 weeks after the 6 week check and therefore 2 weeks of no pill on top of having the Mirena and my skin is clearer, I feel less bloated and although there’s been a bit of stress in regards to big decisions and getting to grips with a new job I’ve definitely felt lighter in my mind and less volatile emotionally. Yehah!

Rob Riemen – To fight against this age.

I feel this is such a valid point and I think if children (and adults) were to see their education as the former more there’d be so much more personal impetus for them to engage. The book is about so much more than education but this is a point that resonates with me and what I have experienced and seen.

It also pleases me to see a lot of my friends who haven’t fallen into a trap like this and I look at their educational choices and attitudes and it at least leans further towards their moral and individual development. It feels like they’re saying ‘what can I study in order to further myself, enjoy my time on earth and therefore offer more to my fellow humans?’ rather than a market based, ‘what can I study in order to appear to offer more to those who have the prime positions in this capitalist society?’

There are elements of Riemen’s arguments that make me feel like a fool for falling into some of these traps of the world we live in. I’ve never wanted money or a business based measurable success, but my attitude to certain aspect of our society has at times been lazy and unchallenging and I think education is a prime example of this.

Interesting causal link he makes between this, the loss of (spiritual) values, lack of absolute truth / rise of deceptive appearances, increased perceived importance of someone’s “market value” and the dissatisfaction and resentment that, what he calls, the ‘mass-man’ harbours which leaves them open and accepting or indeed just blind to the rising and damaging fascism.

‘Mange and skin and bone’

‘As in everything else they do, there’s an overpowering sense of earnestness and vulnerability that makes it work.’

‘It borders on critical malpractice to call the Wonder Years a pop-punk band at this point—not because that term is a pejorative, by any means, but because it implies a creative stagnation that couldn’t be farther from the truth.’

From a Pitchfork review of Sister Cities.

I was going to start this post with something along the lines of questioning how I’d slept on this new Wonder Years album for so long but then I realised I actually heard the title track the week it was released.

It might not have been intended the way I received it but it felt apt and pushed some tears from my eyes as I was driving away from a team who I loved and who I felt loved by. Over a couple of years they helped to make me into who I am when it comes to work and bent the skills I had to work for me and showed me my limits and how to push them.

I’ve always appreciated the way Campbell uses geography, it felt intimate even when it was a place I’d never been, Philadelphia. Now when he’s singing about places I know and those I want to be in my future it feels even more immediate while still being about sitting on the outside and feeling far removed from places you might also want to be.

I think the emotion it conjured in me also came from a place of relief for T and I to be permanently in the same place after a year or so of a little distance between us most of the time. He often shows me how to be a better human being in every environment, thinks carefully, plans methodically. I give in to impulse too easily sometimes.

A couple of years ago I was thinking that if I can’t hypothetically justify a decision I had made to my Grandad Patrick, who saw so much good in everyone, then it was bad judgement and a bad decision. Now i tend not to make too many AWFUL decisions but thinking about what my peaceful best friend would understand me doing is another helpful gauge.

I was just mange and skin and bone

You took me into your home

Kept warm on a blanket from your worn out winter coat

I’m laying low

A stray dog in the street

You took me home

We’re sister cities