December 2021 in review

On Friday 3 December Auckland moved out of our Alert Level 3.2 lockdown, in to our new suppression strategy, called the traffic light system. You guessed it, we have Red, Orange and Green – with red being the most prohibitive. Some were calling it Freedom Day, and in some ways, with hospitality being able to open up again (with restrictions), it is a lot better than what we have been living with. But, it’s strange, the air is certainly still chugged up with everyones nervous vapours, and wearing a mask everywhere doesn’t quite feel like freedom. The plus side of the new system is that if you are vaccinated, you are now allowed to sit down and eat or drink at a venue, provided we scan in our Vaccine Pass. We also got the go ahead for travel in and out of Auckland between mid December and mid January, so we can reconnect with family outside of our areas. As it was my turn to host my family for our Christmas dinner – this made me happy. We had my family for lunch the week before Christmas and it was lovely to see them all.

From that point on to now (New Years Eve) time has passed in a blur. I typically find December a tough month. I tend to have this ideal picture in my head of what the kids birthdays should look like (10 December) and how Christmas should be. But as I experience December and all that Christmas brings I feel overwhelmed with what I need to do and how much it all costs. This year with the added restrictions around scanning and vaccine passes, there has been an extra layer to shopping and organising for our gatherings. This year I worked a couple of extra late nights and on Boxing Day, so work was also in the picture for the whole month. On Christmas day itself, we joined Phil’s family at his sisters for lunch, but the rest of the day was spent quietly at home with just the four of us.

During the month someone dropped off these gorgeous little cakes. Unfortunately, we were not home and I don’t know who to thank!! They were delicious and we appreciated them – but I am a little frustrated to not know who they were from!

Overall, as I reflect on this month, it has been an emotional one. On top of the usual celebrations, we have had to changeover to adult services for Mitchell and the reality of Holly finishing high school and leaving home next year. Those are two really big life transitions for a Mum to face and I have been relieved to have Phil more available while he continues to work reduced hours.

I really thought I was cool with Holly finishing school but I can’t help feeling nervous about her moving out of home and into the big wide world of residential halls at Uni. I am not going to talk about that much here on the blog – she is a private young lady and I need to respect that. However, I found myself in tears when we could not attend her prizegiving this year due to Covid restrictions. Every year I have been there watching, and every year she has received awards that made me proud. This year she had a 1st in English Literature and 1st in Classics. Her Cambridge and Scholarship results will arrive in the new year. It was anti climatic not to share her high school graduation but like everything we move our way through the disappointments.

,Mitchell does not have to leave school until he is 21, so there was no end of school ceremony happening for him. But I have been working on his transition to adult services, and I am both confused and unsure about the whole process. After contemplating residential care or Choice in community living options, we have found out that we must have a diagnosis of intellectual disability to receive this funding. Up until now the wording has always been ‘presumed intellectual disability’. We need this assessment to be done with a psychologist, but we have been waiting for more than a year to see a psychiatrist to look at Mitchell’s medication.- let alone actually sit down and have a full assessment. In the past, school offered a psychologist but with cutbacks and a shortage of psychologists they no longer do this either. So we have been referred now to the dual disability service (for adults) and will wait again.

Mid December we also took Mitchell into Starship for what we anticipated as a routine CT scan before he was transferred to respiratory adult services. Turned out the scan revealed that his lungs now show bronchiectasis and this will mean he needs more intensive physical therapy and that he will have less reserve when he gets an infection. On top of everything else, this is not what we wanted. He has had chronic lung disease and life threatening asthma, but this is possibly developed from aspiration and could affect his ability to continue eating. While he receives about 50% of his nutrition via an NG tube, we have been able to give him pureed food since he was around 9 years old, and it would be a major step backwards to take this away. Anyway, as a result of this we will have one more stay in Starship in the New Year to have a broncoscopy, some intensive IV antibiotics and for us to learn how to do his physio. I am just so grateful that his respiratory Doctor has been there for us right through from the beginning. Losing these people in our life as he transitions to adults is traumatic. However, as I said in my previous post, change is the only constant.

So, my mind has been racing about what the new year will bring and as the year grinds to an end I have been thinking about how my one little word – HEALTH – has been for me this year. I also chose HEALTH as my top value when starting my year long seasonal journal, so it has been very present in my thoughts. I don’t feel I have ended the year in optimum health – but I have listened better to what my body is telling me.

  • I am positive about the impact of doing the Dr Libby course and the 5 kgs of weight that I lost doing this. I have not drunk any coffee (caffeine) since I started that programme 3 months ago, and I do believe it is making a difference to my sleep, metabolism and energy.
  • I got to the dentist once and had one filling done. I still have one to go and a deep clean, but Covid stalled that as the dentists closed for 3 months. I will try and get this done in January.
  • I am still on the same medication but I am working towards being able to get off the blood pressure tablets, if I carry on with some of the Dr Libby guidelines.
  • Physically, I have been more active with golf and yoga in the last 3 months of this year, than I was at the beginning. I am trying to prioritise these 2 activities as they give me the most benefit in different ways.
  • Emotionally, I have been using my journal as a support mechanism for my emotional self care. It slipped some in December, and I did not reach all of my goals for December but I still completed a few pages.
  • I have completed another calendar year sober and as December is always one of the hardest months to pass on the social drinking I am happy to get to January.
  • My Lichen Schlerosus has been flaring up in December but I am off to see the Doctor mid January for this and I had a TVS ultrasound that was showed no changes internally.

I was not as regular in the Seasonal Journal this month, but I managed to complete a few pages. My title page for summer is about emotions. My goals for this 3 months on Emotions are to read 3 books related to emotional wellbeing, practise gratitude and write about an emotion I have experienced each week. Overall I just want to get more in touch with feeling okay with my feelings – the good and bad ones.

Summer Title page

One page I did in my seasonal journal was based on the Get Messy December theme of promise. The class I did was with Wendy Solginak, who I follow on insta (Willa.Wanders) and I love her style, so I was not going to miss doing that one. It was a page using collage as a form of relaxation. Here I am thinking about what to have for my one little word for 2022. I still haven’t decided.

I did a second page using collage while thinking about what 2022 will bring.

Anyway, I am ready for 2022 and hope that it will be full of joy and I am intent on making the most of what we have. Auckland has now moved to Orange under the traffic light system, so we are able to gather in bigger groups – long may it last.

Happy New Year.

Cherie


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