“Mummy’s bought sugar again” my darling daughter announced, laughing hysterically at her poor distraught mother.
Well nothing, obviously, unless that’s all you can remember to buy when you get to the shop….and you have enough sugar at home to feed the entire third world
So why was I buying sugar like it was going out of fashion? Well it’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it brief
Having lived through a fairly major health scare when son 1 was 6 months old, which left me briefly wondering if I’d be around to see him or his sister grow up, unlike most people who would then be ultra health conscious, I happily ignored any signs of illness and carried on living life to the full. And, anyway by now, I had 3 children and a very demanding full-time job…which (at one stage) saw me trundling off to an important meeting complete with 3 week old baby strapped to my chest, and writing policies in the middle of the night whilst a sleepless child played happily at my feet!
Fast forward to 3 years later, where much was going on in my life, including family bereavements and beloved ex nannies leaving to live in Australia. Throw in a workaholic boss who expected the same commitment from her senior team and you have the perfect scenario for a stress filled life. Hence the sleepless nights, weight loss, palpitations, shaky hands, irritability, and strange memory lapses had all been put down to stress for at least 18 months, if not longer..even though they were having an effect on my daily life. I remember an incident when my hands were shaking so much that I dropped an injection I was drawing up. My teams were very sweet, and never said anything. I’m sure they thought I had a drink problem!! I asked one of my Staff Nurses after why they didn’t question anything. She replied that they could always relate it to a meeting or phone call with my boss, so thought I was stressed!
And when I couldn’t carry my youngest son up stairs without getting out completely out of breath and having to sit down, I put it down to a chest infection, as I had been coughing. My GP agreed with me, and gave me antibiotics without listening to my chest! Well, we did have the conversation in the ward office, and when your GP is a work colleague…..and a friend……and your son’s godfather, you tend not to visit for medical reasons if you can help it, and if you ever did the conversation invariably turned to work or children, and by the time you’d finished those you had forgotten why you’d gone to see him in the first place!
Things finally came to a head one day when I woke and could barely move. I thought I had flu. But had to go to work!! I dragged myself to the hospital, but felt cold, shaky, and awful. someone, and I can’t remember who, (but it wasn’t me) made me an appt to see a doctor. (not my own) He took a load of bloods and sent me home to bed. The next day I had a phone call from the surgery saying the doctor needed to see me urgently and could I come in straight away. It turned out my thyroid levels were “critically high” and my “flu” was in fact a full-blown thyroid crisis.
So began the strangest 8 months of my life!
I couldn’t work, was an emotional wreck who wept at the slightest thing. My memory was completely shot, so much that I couldn’t even remember my children’s names. I have never been very big, but by this time I weighed less than 7 stone and was wearing my 14-year-old daughter’s shorts.
And, of course, there was the shopping!! At first I couldn’t even leave the house, but when I could again I’d go out, be unable to remember where I was supposed to be going or what I was going for. Sometimes I’d make a list. but mostly couldn’t even concentrate long enough to do that, or couldn’t find it if I did manage to write one! Hence the sugar! Why sugar I have no idea! I didn’t even take it!! It became a standing joke in the house, and my lovely family thought it funny to send me into town shopping for specific items knowing I’d never remember, and would come back with some very bizarre stuff…..and, of course, sugar!
I also used to fall asleep at odd times, and in odd places. often in the Consultant’s waiting room, and once on a train on my way home from my monthly hospital appointment. I woke 3 stations and an hour away from home!!
Thank goodness we had an amazing nanny who took over, looked after the children, the house, and me!!
Then when I thought things couldn’t get any worse I lost my voice.The thyroid gland had become so enlarged it was constricting my vocal chords. The children thought it was rather wonderful as the most I could muster for weeks was a very small whisper, and some days even that disappeared. It meant I couldn’t act or sing…pretty devastating for a drama queen I can tell you! When my voice eventually returned it was a croaky husk but often wouldn’t last the whole day, and I couldn’t sing a single note. In fact, I didn’t sing for 2 years, then if I did manage to sing anything I wasn’t able to talk for hours after. I probably would never have sung again if it hadn’t been for a good friend, who worked with me on both my speaking and singing voice, and gave me the confidence to give it a go again. I shall be forever grateful to him, and although it is back now it has never been the same. So my greatest achievement was to be able to sing in his rock musical productions.
But I did get loads done, I wasn’t able to sit still for very long. The house was spotless and the garden fit to be opened to the public!!
And I baked. Like a maniac. The house was full of the aroma of something bubbling a way in the oven….bread, cakes, oh, and flapjacks, which I developed a strange craving for.
And though we laugh about it now, it actually was quite scary at the time. I really did think I was going mad. It took 8 months and a few different types of medication before it became controlled enough for me to begin to feel “normal” again, and be able to return to work. And a further 18 months before I was able to stop taking medication. Luckily the Consultant I was under was a great believer in conservative treatment, whereas his colleague, who I saw on a number of occasions when the symptoms raced out of control again, was all for removing my thyroid gland, which I wasn’t keen on at all.
It completely ruined my sleeping patterns, as many of you know I am a shocking insomniac these days…or should I say nights!
I am supposed to have my levels checked regularly but tend to forget. Still I always know if they are heading to the higher side of normal as my neck hurts, I get a husky voice….and I bake!!
So if you hear of me weeping over a kitchen full of cakes and flapjacks perhaps you could remind me to go and get my levels checked!