Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Frog's Chorus

Went to bed really early last night to try and counteract being awake at four on a Saturday morning. The wind was howling outside and there was the occasional drumbeat of rain drops on the window. Very comforting, very soothing, I went out like a light.

I awoke this morning to bright sunshine and high winds. Perfect for drying the pile of washing left behind by Andrew, so Peter loaded the washing machine and returned to the bedroom armed with tea and the morning papers. Following a long relaxed read I had a long relaxed bath and then, with Peter's help, hung the washing out. By the time I'd done all that it was ten and time for yet more tea. Of course the minute we sat down with our cuppas the weather changed and now dark clouds are scurrying overhead threatening rain. Just typical!

Yesterday was a good day. In the end Andrew woke naturally about ten thirty and decided to stay for lunch so he could see Laurence before going back to uni. I am often asked why he is still at uni when all the other students have gone home. The reason is that his is a very intensive course and involves six weeks of placement with the ambulance service in the summer.

We had a lovely pasta meal, which I did manage to swallow but we talked, of course, and this morning I feel I'm almost back to square one as my voice is a lot more croaky but not as sore, though the frog in the throat has returned. I'm keeping my mouth shut again today in the hope I can repair the damage but the question of work now raises it's ugly head. My job is basically talking. I answer phones, discuss problems, offer solutions etc, etc, all by talking, Then in between calls I talk to my colleagues, the people in the canteen and anyone passing who says hello. The only time I'm not talking is when I'm in the loo or eating. On top of that it is a loud environment where whispering is just not going to cut it. I'll feel guilty about not going in as physically I don't feel too bad, however am I going to be any help if I can't talk properly? This is a decision I can only make later in the day. If my voice improves dramatically then I'll go, if I'm still croaking then obviously I stay put.

I know I've promised to be nice to myself but it is really difficult when I don't actually feel ill. I feel tired, yes but not ill. Of course, as with any serious illness, the name of the game is prevention. As I already have one infection my defensives are weakened and it would make it all too easy to pick up something else or for the current infection to worsen and spread. This is what I think a lot of people don't understand when it comes to PH. If you look well, sound well and by your own admission, feel well then why can't you go to work, go shopping, go to the theatre etc, etc. They just don't get that this stage is actually the most dangerous point for you. Someone once told me, 'you only have a cough, that's no excuse to stay off work'. Feeling guilty I went back to work then ended up taking three weeks off, including one in hospital with pneumonia. If I'd stuck to my guns and taken the extra couple of days as I'd planned then I'd probably been OK. This is not something I plan to experience again but it is hard when you know there are people out there who think you're 'slinging the lead'.

Today I'm making my famous Moroccan stew for lunch. I love one pot cooking, it is easy, quick and less washing up. This is just  'shove it all in the pot and slam the lid on' cooking so no effort at all, perfect if you are feeling a bit under the weather but want something tasty to eat. I'm sure I've probably shared this before but if I haven't and you fancy a go, here's the recipe.

Moroccan Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion thickly sliced
2 carrots cut into chunks
450g beef steak cubed (lamb works well too or Quorn or soya if you want to go veggie))
1 tablespoon of ras el hanout spice (most large Tesco's have this, it comes in a silver tin)
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tablespoon clear honey
100g soft dried prunes diced (really you cannot taste them when cooked)
500ml of beef stock ( lamb stock or veg stock if you are doing the lamb or veggie version)
100g soft dried apricots halved
200g tinned chickpeas (400g if doing the veggie version)
couscous or rice to serve.

Over a medium to hot heat pour oil into a deep casserole pot and fry off onions and carrots until soft. remove from pan, add a little more oil if needed. Toss meat in the spice rubbing well in until completely add to pan and brown on all sides. Return the veg and add the garlic, honey, prunes and stock along with any left over spice. Cover and cook on a low heat for 50 minutes. Remove lid and add apricots and chickpeas, cook uncovered for a further 10 mins then serve with couscous or rice. Simples and delicious! This recipe serves four and freezes well. When I have room in the freezer I make double so I always have a nice warming emergency meal on hand.

Well now I've shared it, I'd better go and cook it.