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Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

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My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

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A holiday of sorts!

31 March 2013

My first practice placement for university has finished. I think I passed. I think I did well. I have found it all very educational and I have learned loads. About the human body of course but also about myself.

I need to amend my communication style. I talk too much. I talk too much about myself and I don't always listen enough. Not that I like talking about myself but I was under the impression that sharing personal anecdotes with patients improves the rapport you are building. I have learned that this is true (many patients have praised my communication style and genuine interest in them) but I need to learn better when to apply it and when to just listen. Very common experiences do not need me sharing mine. (e.g. when they have a broken leg, I do not need to tell them about my broken leg, but when they talk about losing their partner it can be very useful for them to know their nurse has had a similar experience)

The next hurdle is studying for my anatomy & physiology exam. There is a ridiculous amount of work involved in this. So much that I find myself paralysed as soon as I open the book. I am convinced I will never remember what is in the book and my brain says: Don't even bother. I am trying to find a way around this but I have not found it yet. I live in hope.

Flying above the clouds is always spectacular.
I have just returned from a trip to see The Family in Holland. It was a bit of a last-minute decision to go. I completely forgot I had 2 weeks 'holiday' from university so I thought it best to visit my grandmothers who are both poorly. Girlfriend came along as I can not imagine spending a whole week without her. Yes, I am admit that was indeed the main reason for her coming along. It was Girlfriend's first time on an aeroplane and the look on her face was worth every penny of the ticket price. I loved it. Shame it was only on a cheap EasyJet flight and not the nice AirFrance flight we have planned for next month.
Dad made filled squid
and seafood pasta.

I had made it clear I would be mostly visiting family during the 4 days we were there so she organised herself a couple of gigs in Amsterdam! Brilliant, now she is officially an international performer. We had a lovely time with my family. We were extremely well-fed by my mum & dad; had a lovely day with my sister and her kids and a most wonderful night in Amsterdam. I even caught up with a friend I had not seen for the best part of 15 years!

Now it is back to work. But good times are ahead. Girlfriend and are going to Paris in 2 weeks. And when we return, we will start looking for a place for us to live together. Neither of us is finding living in different houses much fun anymore. Nice as our respective housemates may be, we just really want our own place, with our own stuff and our own future to build. I am all giddy and excited about this. I have been gathering all the things I own from my current house. More and more things are vanishing from the shared kitchen in to a box that has my stuff in it. When I have left, the girls here will realise that just about half of the things in the house actually belonged to me!!

There are some Jane-related things happening in my brain right now that are fodder for another blog post. But I think it is only fair that I discuss them with girlfriend first...
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This is ridiculous: Love is threatening my future.

06 March 2013

I have been with Girlfriend for nearly a year now. Just writing that makes me giddy.

Love is the result of a difficult chemical reaction that happens in your brain. it affects your entire body. Everyone knows the problems of being in love:

Lack of concentration
Obsessing about the other person
Loss of appetite
Feeling sick
Bad sleep

First, here is a mini chemistry lesson.

New relationships go through three stages: Lust, Attraction and Attachment. Each of these stages have their own hormones that wreak havoc with your normal emotions.  Lust is driven by Testosterone and Oestrogens. Attraction is fueled by Adrenaline, Dopamine and Serotonin. And when you move in to the Attachment phase, it is mostly Oxytocin and Vasopressin.

The Attraction phase is when you can not think of anything else but the other person. Not surprising since high levels of Dopamine are associated with heightened attention, short-term memory, hyperactivity, sleeplessness and goal-oriented behavior. Does that sound like AD(H)D to anyone???? But recently, scientists have discovered that people in the Attachment phase have the same low levels of Seratonin in their blood as those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

So it makes perfect sense that all I can think of is HER. I can not concentrate on university work. I can not think of ANYTHING else than of how many hours before I see her again. And if there is the remotest chance of not seeing her at all during a day, I will just go to her house and steal a kiss on the doorstep and go home again (we do live on the same street so this is easy).

But seriously people, I would really like to move on from this. I have a university degree to think of. It is hard enough to make that work with having AD(H)D killing my concentration. But having something else on top of that to distract me even more is just impossible. I sacrifice work time to be with HER. I can not stop checking my phone if there is a message during my shifts at the hospital. I am unable to sleep unless I have seen HER. I can not look at HER with my brain going funny. It physically hurts when I think of the fact that we do not yet live together and that it won't be for a few months until we can be together on a permanent basis.

I am researching, I stray on the the DFS and IKEA websites and pretend I am looking at furniture for our new house. I spend hours looking at houses online that we *could* rent. Every stupid, trite love song suddenly has become deep and meaningful.

Don't get me wrong: I am not saying this love is better than anyone else's. I know everyone feels like this when they are in love. Or at least, they SHOULD feel like this. For a while anyway. But I just can not move away from it. I would like to be able to say: I am going to work for a few hours and then see HER. It is hard enough when I am not in love but having the promise of seeing HER ahead of me makes it impossible to get anything done.

So, here is a request to my hormones: I get it. my feelings for Girlfriend are SERIOUS. I am properly attracted to her. So can I now please move on to the Attachment phase. The one that releases Oxytocin, aka the cuddle hormone. Ironically, Oxytocin is released after orgasms and strengthens the bond between two people. So perhaps the best way to get to the Attachment phase as soon as possible is to have a lot of sex and release a lot of Oxytocin; the hormone that makes it possible to just sit next to her and do homework, instead of sitting next to her and just wanting to melt into one entity, one body and be closer than humanly possible.

Thank you very much on behalf of all the future patients who would really like for me to have concentrated harder at University.

Finally, if you think I am just moaning and should get on with things, watch this fascinating film about people in love, who are put in an MRI scanner whilst thinking about the person they love. Just thinking of their lovers changes their brain function and hormone balance.




PS: Yes, this entire blog post was just another excuse to think about HER for an hour and still feel like I have done something productive.
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