Apples, Ailments and an Easter blessing


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I’ve been busy, not always intentionally, things just keep popping up and some of those things have been more welcome than others.

Just before Christmas, I joined the Norfolk school of Painting. For a very low fee I get to watch the weekly Studio Talk, where Martin and Bryony lead us through a study of an oil painting, usually by an artist I am familiar with, but there have been others who were new to me.

We study a different painting each week and many styles are covered over the year. I’ve loved exploring the work of the artists, it is fascinating to see their techniques, their colour pallets, how the different effects are created and so on. Each week I learn a multitude of new things, which is so exciting. I have signed up for some of their other, more in depth lessons, I’d do them all if money permitted.

I am inspired by the Studio Talks but I’m a terrible procrastinator. Painting is often put off by that something which needs mending, or the explosion of growth in the garden that came with the rains, and now needs cutting back. The roof that leaks and needs patching, again! And what to do about the shelves with the bad case of woodworm, that leaves piles of fine sawdust on each shelf and the floor. On and on with things that take up my time and keep me away from painting.

In an attempt to push myself out of this irritating habit, I decided to try using chalk pastels to follow along with Martin as he painted. Obviously oil paints and chalk pastels are different mediums, and therefore I couldn’t replicate all the techniques and effects, but it was an interesting exercise. I will try and keep on with that each week because it did help me retain more information. I learn best when my hands are involved.

My study of Cézanne’s apples in pastels.

The definitely less welcome thing to be dealt with was Neu being diagnosed with Covid-19. I so hoped he wouldn’t catch it, he is dealing with so much already. Kidney failure and dialysis, his ongoing problems from the surgery he had in 2015/16 that still hasn’t healed, the worry caused by important hospital appointments and surgeries being cancelled multiple times because of the lockdowns. With all that, Covid-19 was the last thing he needed.

Neu had a discharge from one of the wounds on his belly, a not uncommon occurrence, but it had been getting progressively worse and was clearly infected. Then he complained of a headache which lasted a couple of days and wouldn’t let him sleep. Naturally, after two sleepless nights he was pretty grumpy and not much fun to be around. I’m afraid I didn’t take much notice when he complained that the fish he was eating was off, I couldn’t say if it was or not, I wasn’t eating it (even living in a fishing village I rarely eat fish) and just suggested he eat something else. He went to bed instead.

The following day he was feeling a bit wobbly, I assumed that was because he hadn’t slept or eaten properly for days. I was also a bit cross with him for still not having told the Doctor about the worsening situation on his belly, maybe that accounted for the headaches and shivery feeling he now had. I spoke to my friend Caroline who is a wonderful homeopath, she advised some remedies for him to take, which he did before going to his dialysis session. When Neu got back late that night he told me the doctor had prescribed antibiotics for his belly and a Covid-19 test.

The following day, not being able to ask any of the local car drivers to take us in to town, I had to call for an ambulance as per the rules. I wasn’t looking forward to that, I’ve had terrible trouble with them in the past. Those sagas are funny now, you can read about them here, but they were stressful at the time. Thankfully, the municipal ambulance department are now much better organised, with much better ambulances, and one was sent out to us fairly quickly. At the laboratory they asked Neu what his symptoms were, he didn’t have any now. We assumed the antibiotics were working and the symptoms he’d had, were down to an infection.

The results for the Covid-19 test were going to take a few days to come back, but the complete blood test done at the same time, showed things were very much not as they should be. Again that could have been down to the infection, but the Doctor decided that, symptoms or no, Neu needed to begin treatment with methylprednisolone and a dose of Ivermectin. He was also taking the homeopathic remedies as instructed. Now we were all in quarantine, at least until the results came back.

The test results were meant to take four days but ended up being nearly a week. When they did come back, they showed positive for Covid-19, variant B117 also known as the UK variant. The test sheet said it was indicative of him having been in contact with foreigners. I had to laugh because I just know that if that bit of info gets out, people in the village will say I gave it to him, whether I did or not. In fact, I did have some symptoms before Neu did, but as they only lasted a day I’d dismissed them as being down to my usual sensitivity to stormy weather. Thankfully Neu never did develop any more symptoms, but we will both take an antibody test next time we go to town, to find out if I’ve had it and rule out the possibility of Neu having had a false positive test.

Having had to go for treatment by ambulance to different clinics on alternate days, Neu was greatly relieved to be told that he is now out of quarantine and that as of next week, his dialysis routine will return to normal. I am staying in the house for a few more days, just to be on the safe side but am so relieved Neu wasn’t any worse, it’s a real Easter blessing. Perhaps now would be a good time to get painting!