Wednesday 8 May 2024: Reviewing the situation

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

What a terrible month we’ve had so far. Apart from our wedding anniversary. We had a nice day on our wedding anniversary and we went out for a lovely meal. Oh yes, and we went away in the camper van. But apart from that…

It started with shingles. I hadn’t been feeling well for a couple of weeks, and at the start of last week I started to break out in sores. The itching was driving me mad, and when it wasn’t itching, it hurt. A lot. I even felt as though I’d been kicked. That’s how bruised I felt. I called our doctor on the Thursday and insisted on a same-day appointment, and when I saw the medical practitioner there, she told me I had shingles.

I was apparently contagious for 5 days from the day the blisters started. That was Monday, so I had until Friday and I had to cancel some arrangements I’d made. On the Thursday, aside from me seeing the doctor, the dog took a turn for the worse. He yelped when he got out of his basket and it was soon clear that his legs had completely gone. Then his bladder went, and then his bowels went.

If he didn’t show any improvement the following day, then he had to go to the vet. I wanted to wait for the poet to get home from a business trip anyway, but the dog had a day to get a bit better.

He didn’t.

By the time the poet got home on Friday, Rufus had gone completely downhill. And we made the heartbreaking decision to end his suffering. I’m not going to go into detail, because it’s far too upsetting. Even though we’ve had a year to get used to the idea, it was still the worst day of our lives. One day soon I’ll write a tribute to him, but not yet. I’m not ready. Needless to say, we both miss him dreadfully.

We had a weekend booked at the seaside and we ummed and ahhed about whether or not we should still go. Aside from feeling bereft, I was also still suffering with shingles. But I wasn’t contagious any more, and even if I was, I could stay in the van. So on Saturday morning we decided to go, but we were very late setting off and we didn’t get there until teatime.

And then the van got stuck in the muddy field and the tractor had to come and drag it out. We found a nice spot, dry and level, with a view of the sea, and we stayed there until Monday. We’d paid for Tuesday night too, but only because we couldn’t book for less than 3 nights over the bank holiday weekend. That meant we didn’t have to rush to de-camp on our last day.

On Sunday we ventured out on what we’d been led to believe was a 30-minute walk to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs – one of our happy places. It took us over an hour to get there, and my shingles blisters were chafed and sore. Then I remembered I had some dressings designed specifically for blisters, and they were in my rucksack! But we had to make use of the disabled toilet so the poet could apply a couple for me.

The walk back was much more comfortable, but this time we stopped to ‘smell the roses’ and look at the gannets and puffins on the way. Ninety minutes later we were back at camp.

When we pulled away on Monday morning, the plan was to visit the lighthouse at Flamborough Head. But when we got there the car park was packed and there were only places available in the overflow field…Another muddy field. We didn’t want to risk getting the van stuck again, so we headed home.

It was a lovely weekend and just what we needed to stop us moping around the house. I also think it did me and my shingles good, although they’re still there now. I’ve had a couple of days off, feeling sorry for myself. But I’m starting to feel better (shingles-wise) and am now getting on with some work.

Over the weekend I came to realise that my lack of concentration lately was probably due to severe sleep deprivation. We’ve both slept really well since Friday and the only thing that’s woke me up has been my blisters. Aside from that, I also suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. But I don’t want to fill it with working for other people. We’ve had a chat, the poet and I, and we’ve decided it’s time for me now. At least for a bit.

I’m going to finish the current edit, and see my responsibility there through to the end. But I’m done with chasing or begging for work. Instead, I’m going back to school, so to speak. I’m going back to learning.

I’ve already mentioned how many writing courses I have outstanding with WMG Publishing. I’m also paying for a Save the Cat monthly subscription and on Monday I took the plunge and enrolled on a novella writing course for Halloween. I have one writing project outstanding that I want to complete: the project management series. So I’m going to do that too as well as continue with the short stories.

And that’s it. In the future now I’ll be accompanying the poet on his business trips where I can, hopefully all over Europe. I don’t want to be carting editing jobs or client work around with me. I’ve just upgraded my phone massively, so it can be used as a hotspot. And I’m putting various work bags together that I can just grab and go without them taking up too much effort.

We will get another dog, or two, in the future. But not before the poet has retired. In the meantime, we’re going to do lots of things we haven’t been able to do before, due to being tied. We’d swap it all to have Rufus back again. But for now, it’s our time. And my work time is for me.

10 thoughts on “Wednesday 8 May 2024: Reviewing the situation

  1. I’m so sorry about Rufus. How heartbreaking for you. And I’m sorry you’ve been ill.

    Sounds like a great plan, to take some time and travel and write and just take it as it comes.

  2. Sorry to hear about Rufus and you being ill as well xx

  3. It’s such a hard time; coming into an empty house etc, but you’re right to also take advantage of the freedom it gives you. You were absolutely right not to let Rufus suffer any longer. It’s such a difficult decision, but made through love. We all find this so hard but we go and put ourselves through it again and you will find another dog in good time.
    The both of you take some time for yourselves and for each other. Eventually the right dog will come again. Take life as it comes for a while and have an adventure! Lots of love

  4. So sorry to hear about Rufus, but he seemed to have a lovely time during his weekend away in the van. Good for you that you will be able to go travelling and take your work with you. Glad you are feeling better too x

  5. Catching up on blogs and I was afraid this was coming after I read your post about being alone in the house. I’m so sorry to hear about Rufus but I do hope you’re able to find some peace knowing you gave him a wonderful life. And hurrah for focusing on your own work! You’re a wonderful writer and deserve to be VERY widely read. xx

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