Health Diary Week 83: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Broken

Image: Noupload, Pixabay

Home
<<<Week 82

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

I’ve come to accept that these posts may have to be briefer nowadays to fit with my work life. But honestly, I still love sharing my diary with you all. Also, I hope you benefit from my posts, whether you find them helpful or just interesting. So let me update you about this week’s occurrences…

The Histamine Struggles

The histamine saga is ongoing. Here’s the latest…

Stinky people:

During lockdown I’d almost forgotten how much of an issue I have with people’s perfume products. Over the past two weeks, this has been a particular struggle at work – I’ve had a constant burning and itchy sensation in my nose, despite coating my nostrils (inside and out – yea, yuck!) with loads of Vaseline (it helped) and wearing a mask. This suggests to me that my mast cells (histamine releasers) are being over-dramatic, reacting unnecessarily. To enable me to function, I took an extra dose of my antihistamine, Loratadine (once in the morning and again in the evening) – I will inform my Doctor in case she has any concerns about this.

Our Border Collie boy, Shep, making friends with a goat, or perhaps they’re just intrigued by each other’s whiff (1988)

No-go prescription:

You may remember, I was excited last week to report I’d been prescribed a mast cell stabiliser to help with my histamine issues. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to obtain this medication and I don’t know why exactly – the Pharmacy seemed kind of cagey. I went into the Pharmacy on three days to try to collect my prescription and was told it was on order and then when my Mum went while I was at work, they told her they could no longer obtain it from the supplier and that I had to go back to my Doctor. So, I completed another e-Consult form requesting an alternative. To be continued…

And… My Back

I swear I’m falling apart! I woke up on Friday morning in agony with my back – I haven’t had this happen before. It felt like a combination of a trapped nerve (radiating from my back through to my side and ribs), a muscle knot and a tender bruise-like feeling. Even breathing hurt, until the pain eventually eased a bit. I somehow made it out of bed, but I couldn’t bend down to carry my laundry to the washing machine. I thought I was over the worst, until on Saturday afternoon the pain started increasing again. It got unbearable when I was in the shower – I struggled to seat myself on the side of the bath and was stuck there for about half an hour before I could move again. I’ll let you know how it progressed…

More Easy Meals

Once again, I had no energy to spend time in the kitchen creating new dishes. Instead I opted for easy options like simple fusilli pasta (with sweetcorn and onion), filled pittas (e.g. burgers) and leftover freezer options (e.g. roast). Once, Mum cooked me up some fennel steaks and homemade chips/fries – always a treat:

Some of my easy meals. Clockwise: Quinoa & rice burger (from freezer) in salad pitta. Simple pasta (fusilli, sweetcorn, red onion, Italian herbs, turmeric, sweet paprika & cold-pressed rapeseed oil). Mum’s fennel steak and homemade chips. Leftover roast items from the freezer (roast & sweet potato, courgettes & stuffing)

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Here’s a few things that made me smile this week…

Interesting people:

I know I’ve already said this, but I’m particularly enjoying the social aspect of being back at work. And the thing about where I’m working (Covid vaccine centre), means that you get to meet a wide range of different people, with one great thing in common – wanting to support the community and reduce the spread of Covid-19. This includes quite a few retired health professionals (including a skateboarding former WHO medic, and retired midwife vegan of 40 years), loads of people furloughed from airlines or cruise ships, a wedding photographer, lighting engineer (working for bands touring the World) and even a Baroness opera singer – amazing! Who knows who else I’ll get to meet…

Me ready for work (Week 81)

A good excuse:

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself over the weekend because of my painful back. But then I decided to appreciate having time to myself in the cosy house where I was cat sitting during this rainy weather, along with a decent excuse not to move much and just binge watch Netflix – it could be worse, right?:

Netflix binge. Image: Tumisu, Pixabay

Peculiar cats:

My friend Tina likes me to cat sit for her “fur baby”, Buddy, when she’s away – apparently, he likes me. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time with this guy, so I wasn’t sure how he’d react when I looked after him over the weekend. On the first evening, I couldn’t understand why Buddy was sat outside on the window ledge glaring in at me and ignoring my offer for him to come back inside (via the door). I messaged Tina, who explained he wanted to come in via the window and would therefore refuse the door option. Cats are so peculiarly funny:

Buddy cat glaring at me through the window

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 84
<<<Week 82
Home

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate

Health Diary Week 81: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Stormy Spring

Stormy Spring clouds on my walk back from physio

Home
<<<Week 80

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences.

NHS Covid Administrator – Week 2

I successfully completed my second week as a Covid Administrator. I’m enjoying the social interaction and having a variety of tasks: Check-in, directing people into assessment or vaccine bays and working in the vaccine bays. The vaccine bays were particularly interesting – I checked and updated patient records and distracted nervous people. Also, I had the opportunity to observe syringes being prepared and vaccines being given – I can’t believe that I can handle this now – a few years ago there’s no way I could. And, during down-times I chatted to some inspiring vaccinators from a variety of backgrounds.

Physiotherapy

I received a phone call on Tuesday, offering me an in-person physiotherapy appointment the next day. I really liked my physiotherapist, Arienne, who asked lots of questions and made me feel listened to. Arienne tested me for nerve damage (all seems fine) and assessed my range of movement and strength – I can’t believe how much strength I’ve lost in my damaged shoulder/arm. I found out there’s no such thing as a locked rotator cuff – I’m sure that’s what A&E told me I had (I’d wondered why I couldn’t find anything about it online). It was decided the exercises I’d been trying to do were too advanced for my current situation, so some new ones were assigned. I’m back for another session in a couple of weeks. I now feel a lot more confident that my shoulder will eventually heal.

New physio exercises to improve the range of movement in my shoulder and arm

Easy, Convenient Dinners

I haven’t had much energy for cooking since I started work, so thank goodness for simple options and frozen batch-cooked food. My go-to post-work light dinner is a simple filled pitta of Violife ‘cheese’ slices, Quorn ‘ham’ slices and salad – simple yet tasty (but admittedly a histamine risk). One evening, I added frozen cooked veg and notomato sauce to noodles and topped them with spring onion. Noodles are really convenient; so, another time I accompanied them with a simple macadamia sauce (macadamia butter, oat milk, garlic granules, mixed herbs and sweet paprika) and served them with a side of coated cauliflower wings from the freezer. I also made a cheesy vegetable pasta using frozen cauliflower and broccoli cheese, carrots and sweetcorn – convenient and delicious:

My easy dinners: Clockwise: ‘Cheese’, ‘ham’ and salad pitta. Vegetable noodles in notomato sauce. Macadamia noodles with cauliflower wings. Cheesy vegetable fusilli pasta

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

As always, I’m happy to share a few things that made me smile this week…

Kind freebies:

I ordered some supplies from the Vegan Kind Supermarket. They added some free vanilla custard and chickpea fusilli to my delivery – how kind:

Vegan Kind Supermarket freebies: Vanilla custard and chickpea fusilli

Helpful friends:

I received a message from my tenants to say that my garden fence had fallen down in the storm. I must say this was not a smile provoker, but what did make me smile was that one of my friends replied to my Facebook shout-out and confirmed he could help rectify the problem:

Fence down: My poor garden fence finally came down in the most recent storm

Catch-ups:

The stormy weather meant that I couldn’t meet up with Bevy in person. This is another situation that could have been seen as a negative. But, meeting online meant that we got to chat with Charlotte too – and we had such a great much-needed catch up. And, at the end of the week, I had an online chat with Dawn, a like-minded new(ish) friend:

Great friends: Charlotte, me and Bevy (my Mexican-themed party, 2011)

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 82
<<<Week 80
Home

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate

Health Diary Week 80: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Back to Work

Back to work: Me looking a little dazed by the prospect

“The best way to enjoy your job is to imagine yourself without one”

Oscar Wilde

Home
<<<Week 79

Hi, welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate: health updates, meal creations and smile-provoking experiences. Firstly, I must apologise for the delayed post – a couple of unexpected situations and general work tiredness slowed me down.

I started working for the NHS

I was nervous (but also massively excited) about starting work as a Covid Administrator in a vaccine centre. I’d been a University Disability Adviser until mid-2017 when I took voluntary redundancy to complete my studies full-time. After graduating at the end of 2019, I’d intended to have a few months break. And then Covid-19 emerged and I contracted it mid-March 2020 (read my story here), leaving me with some lingering symptoms delaying my return to work.

I had no idea how I would handle my fatigue, despite only working three days a week (just over six hours each shift). I worked Wednesday to Friday and was hugely relieved I was okay, but I spent much of my weekend sleeping before my next shift on Monday. My shift pattern will settle down soon, so I’ll be able to develop a routine.

I worked on check-in, where I welcomed and booked-in people for their vaccine, before directing them to the assessment queue. I’m hoping to work in the vaccine bays soon. What I’ve absolutely loved is being around people again.

Me dressed for work: NHS vaccine support staff

I lost weight

I was hoping that being back at work would increase my activity levels and halt my recent creeping weight gain. When I weighed myself on Monday, I’d lost 2.2 lb (1 kg) in weight after my first working week despite being sat down most of the time – yay! My shift timings mean I miss a meal at work, so that must have helped. And I probably burnt a few calories trying to keep warm, as the building was well ventilated (rightfully so).

Medical updates: Histamine and clicking jaw

I missed a phone call from my Doctor to review my histamine issues, whilst I was at work. So, this meant another e-Consult form to request a set time to speak to my Doctor. Hopefully I’ll hear back soon.

Also, I had a dentist appointment to shave down one of my teeth to reduce a heavy bite. Hopefully this will stop my jaw from clicking so much and improve bone repair from an extra tooth previously removed. Thankfully, it was a simple process – no anaesthetic required and over quickly. I’ll be interested to see if my jaw does stop clicking.

Pre-work breakfast: Baked oats and quinoa flakes

Now that I’m working, I either miss lunch or dinner, because of my shift timings. My employers provide sandwiches and snacks, but sadly I can’t eat these (except the apples) because of my low histamine, gluten free and vegan diet. I just take dry foods (popcorn, crackers, nuts) to snack on during a break and eat filling pre-work meals. My pre-work breakfast was baked oats and quinoa flakes with apple and blueberries, topped with macadamia butter (details here) – super filling, dessert-like breakfast – yum!:

Baked oats and quinoa flakes with apple and blueberries (and other goodies)

Pre-work lunch: Pasta salad in macadamia butter

My pre-work filling lunch also incorporated my trusty, newly discovered quinoa flakes and macadamia butter. This time I made a fusilli (brown rice) pasta salad – I have an idea on how to improve it next time, but I must say, I was impressed with this creation (details here):

Pasta salad with macadamia nut butter and quinoa flakes – so filling!

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Here’s a few of this week’s smile provokers…

Real-life people:

What really made me smile this week was interacting with people in real-life – returning to work and seeing friends. It was wonderful to meet in Karen’s garden for the first time this year (and the bonus was it was daylight, initially) instead of on Zoom. We had a lovely catch-up (myself, Karen, Julie and Chrissy) and a calming mindfulness session led by Chrissy:

Garden meet-up and mindfulness (Week 47)

The talented Mr Blackbird:

Our blackbird friends have been incredibly busy with nest maintenance and feeding. Mummy Bird and a male were collecting mud and sticks from the pond, flying back-and-forth to a nest somewhere behind our house. Our blackbird friends have also been enjoying the abundance of worms in our garden and the buffet we provide on the driveway for the ground-feeding birds. But impressively, Mr Blackbird has also figured out how to hang from the bird feeder to obtain extra sustenance:

Mr Blackbird demonstrating his skills

Super Moon:

I awoke Tuesday morning (27 April) at 4.30am to a huge, clear moon lighting up my room. Unfortunately, my photo attempts didn’t do it justice, so you’ll have to take my word that it was gorgeous. I found out later this was a super pink moon. I didn’t notice it being pink, but then the one shown below isn’t obviously pink either:

Super pink moon. Image: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next week for another catch up.

>>>Week 81
<<<Week 79
Home

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate