Sunday, 5 September 2010

Writing or cleaning – what a choice!

Five weeks ago, when Rod went into hospital, I was chasing a deadline for my children’s local history book (There'll be more details about this when I get the publication date, final title etc from Hometown World Publishers!). I’d been working on the book for about two months. The research was fascinating and the writing was keeping my mind off the inevitable worries of Rod’s illness and treatment but it was a relief to submit it. I needed a break from work... or so I thought. Unfortunately this left my brain with no distractions, especially in the middle of the night. You know how it is. It’s 2 am, you’re wide awake and dark thoughts are hanging around your mind. That’s when I try to think about my current writing project. It’s a strategy that I’ve developed and it’s one of the reasons I love/need to writing, but I couldn’t be creative with Rod in hospital and, now he’s home, I’m struggling to find the time. I’m too busy cleaning!

As a result of the chemotherapy treatment Rod has profound neutropenia. This means that he has no resistance to the everyday bugs that the rest of us live with quite happily and so I have had to develop a coping strategy. I vacuum, mop down, disinfect handles, sinks and toilets and change the towels every morning before he gets up... that’s the theory anyway! His food must be prepared fresh each day. He’s not allowed to have anything reheated. He mustn’t eat raw food which includes those lovely tomatoes that he’s been nurturing all year, although they’re still delicious skinned and fried (if only he could taste them above that tinny taste in his mouth). Of course, surfaces and utensils need to be extra clean and food must be well cooked through and through. I have to admit to always having been a bit obsessive about this sort of thing and so now that I’ve been told by a doctor that I HAVE to do it... well, let’s just say I’m trying not to become too paranoid.

So it’s all the more important that I have some writing to occupy my mind. Many people have asked me if I’m going to write Rod’s treatment into a story. I know that writing is therapeutic. That’s why I write this blog, but it feels too immediate and raw to turn it into fiction just yet. Maybe I’ll do it one day but for now I’m going to return to my short stories and children’s writing and banish those night-time panics... if only I can grab the time in-between the mop, bucket and disinfectant wipes!


13 comments:

  1. You always make me smile and at the same time make me emotional. You find the right words to describe everything as if we are there with you....if only then we could at least hug, help do something.

    Hope Rod is begining to improve, he most certainly has the best nurse, doctor, housekeeper and soul mate.

    Take care, hugs to you all and not forgetting the wet licks and loud woofs from Poppy & Barney too....Oops not for Rod, I've bathed them this morning, but best not! x

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  2. Thanks, Pauline. You're right about no licks. Dog saliva is a definite no! Poor Josh keeps wondering why Rod won't pick up his slobbery ball and play with him.

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  3. Oh, poor Josh! Poor Rod!

    POOR YOU with all that cleaning! I Hope Rod's feeling somewhat better and that you are all coping okay. Thinking of you.

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  4. Hi Talli, I have to admit that cleaning is not normally my 'thing'!

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  5. I am not a huge fan of house cleaning - I keep telling myself I'm going to hire someone to do it, but of course, that never happens!

    Hope you're all doing well - make sure you get some relaxation time in with Rod too!

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  6. Very sorry to hear of Rod's illness. Not quite sure what it is as I have caught the tail end.

    All the very best to you both, nevertheless.

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  7. Hi Jemi, thanks for the reminder. I'm trying for us to get some relaxation time but *sigh* I didn't realise how much I rely on convenience foods. All this fresh home cooking takes for ever AND it's going to be putting the lbs on me!

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  8. Thanks Wendy. I'm afraid it HAS taken over my blog just a little but hopefully normal blogging can be resumed asap!

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  9. Oh I'm sending lots of sympathy your way. I think that would drive me crazy. Best wishes to Rod during his recovery!

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  10. Kept thinking what does the picture of mop and bucket remind me of and then the penny dropped. Do you remember ‘The Sorcerers Apprentice’ from the Walt Disney cartoon film ‘Fantasia’?….. that led me to ‘Mary Poppins’ (don’t ask me why - the mind works in mysterious ways)!! I thought wouldn’t it be good if Ros could click her fingers as Mary did in the film and all the house work would do itself. Jumping back to reality, well done for multi tasking so brilliantly, fantastic cook, fastidious cleaner, compassionate carer, superb dog walker, outstanding blog writer and much, much more……… Love and hugs to you all. x x

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  11. Thanks, Merrilee, and yes, it's driving me crazy.

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  12. Hi Rifka. Would love a pair of Mary Poppins style clicking fingers right now and thanks for all those compliments *blushes deep cherry red*

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  13. julie Bradshaw18 Sep 2010, 06:52:00

    this takes me back. Wendy and I spent a happy, back-breaking day with all manner of cleaning products eliminating all known bugs when Sarah came out. There were plenty to eliminate! We even had to have an artificial Christmas tree that year.

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