Well, what I thought was going to be a semi-routine stay in hospital for some treatment which I've had before actually turned into a gruelling, 11 day stay where I fought a long, exhausting battle which felt as if it would never, ever end. I know that sounds over-dramatic, but I really hadn't realised how poorly I had become, or that things might not turn out the way I wanted them to.
There were some long, lonely, scary nights, and some very grave-faced doctors around my bed. Talk of surgery, very heavy duty drug regimes and a battery of endless, invasive tests (my condition is called ulcerative colitis and there is not really a cure for it). The upshot is that I did pull round at the eleventh hour, and although I seem to have an entire pharmacy in my kitchen to keep me stable, for now, I am home and making very slow but steady progress.
It's strange: this blog was always intended to be a diversion, full of the small, pretty, trivial things in my life, but when the chips were down, those so-called distractions were what got me through. For the first time in my life, I couldn't read a book. The words just blurred and jumbled and wouldn't make sense or give solace. Instead, I knitted. Endless little squares, through the lowest of lows and the higher points, when the news started to get a little better.
Every care assistant who tended to me, the nurses and the lovely people who bring meals and drinks, would all comment on my Cath Kidston bag and my little mountain of squares as they multiplied each day. "What are you making?" they'd ask. "I'm just knitting," I'd reply. Some of my squares are holey and wonky, some are neat and straight. There are certainly some tears mixed in there. One day, my mum rang from town and asked if there was anything I'd like her to bring me. "A ball of apple green wool," was the only thing that I wanted and it lay there like a beacon next to my bed.
I couldn't have got through the last few weeks without the support of my amazing family and friends. My husband, boys and an incredible mum and dad. But however loved you are made to feel, serious illness does also create a sense of extreme loneliness, and you need extra reserves.
This was my friend Tracey's genius gift. I didn't read the words, I just wanted the pictures and colours, and it was like a physical shot in the arm when I started leafing through.
Another friend, Jo, bought a poetry book, and that was another amazingly comforting thing to have with me.
Finally, when I started to respond to the treatment, I was filled with an enormous urge to get back to my beloved home and family, my piles of fabric, inexpertly half-made bags, cushions, and clutter. It was like a power surge that carried me through. There are lots of options for me now, and I am really hopeful that I'll get better, as I have done before. If not, and there are tough times ahead, I'm more realistic about those, too. Meanwhile, rest assured that I won't be going on and on about it here because I've got a whole world of colours, makes and ideas to get back to, and I fully intend to keep posting about them all...thanks for all your good wishes. xxx