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I just know you’re desperate to discover the latest when it comes to my health. (Ok, well, I can pretend.) Just remember that boring you with such goes a long way towards helping me come to terms with the nitty gritty.

The Good

The Cardiac consultant said there was no reason on earth why I couldn’t have the cataract operation on my right eye as soon as possible. Having been offered a cancellation a couple of weeks ago that I turned down on the advice of my GP, going to Pre-Assessment after Cardiology meant I was able to arrange the operation for 1st June (yes, this year). I am jubilant. As some of you know, I haven’t been able to see properly for a good five years. I am trusting that the surgeon will also be able to pluck out the second stitch that has forced its way to the surface on the left eye from the cataract operation in Crete over a year ago.

The Bad

The Cardiac consultant was charming, shook my hand, looked me in the eye and apologised profusely that I had been lost in the system.  I was originally referred for an Echocardiogram by the Rheumatology department which monitors my LcSSc/CREST. It turns out that the condition of my leaky heart valve, or Mitral Valve Regurgitation, is serious. (Don’t all sympathise at once — I’d much rather you made jokes.) I have to have another Echocardiogram in a week or so in order for the surgeon to see how much it has or hasn’t deteriorated since the December one. A decision will then be made as to how soon I should have open-heart surgery. If it is not considered urgent, it will be a three-month wait.

The Ugly

I bet you’ve been wondering what this could refer to ever since you saw the title! Admittedly, the word also applies to open-heart surgery but for the purposes of this blog, it’s the unsightly distended abdomen I developed overnight some while ago. This morning I’m at the hospital (again) to have an ultrasound to check what might be causing it. I’d have said it was just fat if the rest of my body had followed suit but it hasn’t. Naturally, I’ve been searching on Google and the possibilities are endless. I’ll keep you posted!

I nearly forgot — a course of iron tablets has done wonders for the breathlessness. It’s all tied up with anaemia, the heart and much else besides.

Footnote: Some of you may have noticed that I’m visiting blogs again. I can’t guarantee any consistency but I do feel better than of late.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Dear All,

I had hoped not to write about the full extent of the ‘poor health I enjoy’ — try out the phrase yourself; it’s rather fun to drop it into the conversation and avoid others thinking you feel sorry for yourself.

You know a little about my autoimmune condition, LcSSc, and the cataract problems in both eyes. However, before Christmas, I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema and a Leaky Heart Valve. I wasn’t in the least surprised by the former as I’ve been a smoker for decades but it did prompt me to make another determined effort to give up. I’m not there yet but I’m getting there.

The Leaky Heart Valve was a shock but LcSSc affects several internal organs so I’ve always known it was a possibility and that the combination is dangerous.

I went to see my GP a week ago since it seemed that the Emphysema had increased at a rate of knots because I was getting more and more breathless. ‘No,’ she said, ‘I’m 90% certain your breathlessness relates to your heart, partly because your emphysema is negligible.’ She was shocked that I had not yet had the follow-up investigation to discern whether the heart problem could be solved by medication or would need surgery.

She is chasing it up. I’m frightened because the breathlessness has become almost untenable and can manifest itself simply by walking a few yards to the kitchen or the front door. It’s making me dizzy and the unconscionable exhaustion I have mentioned in earlier posts now makes a lot of sense. I shall be ringing the GP tomorrow or even taking myself off to A&E.

The point of this post is that I have to take a break from blogging as the pressure of posting and answering comments as well as visiting other blogs to like and comment is too much to cope with on top of the physical difficulties. That’s not to say there won’t be the odd post on First Night Design, First Night History or Rogues & Vagabonds but I will only be liking comments and not be replying.

As for news on the eyes, my GP said they won’t do anything about the cataract in the right eye until more is known about the heart and its ramifications. To top it all, another stitch has come to the surface of the left eye because I can see a shadow in the shape of lips. Would it were a ‘wooden O’ but no; it resembles nothing so much as the pursed lips of that unspeakable man in the White House.

Enjoy Easter!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Some of you know that I had another eye appointment at the hospital on Thursday. The scar tissue was removed by laser, which was fairly painless. I might see a difference in a couple of days but there was talk about it taking six weeks.

AAAGGHHRRR!

No change so far. I’ve always said I was on this earth to learn patience and so it remains. I shall keep smiling and laughing. Because that’s what I do!

And now to the real point of the post.

© Marilyn Griffin

About a year ago, dear Marilyn of MKG- Memories-Keepsakes-Gifts bought one of my prints from Crated. She has now found the perfect frame, as above, and it’s going to look fabulous in her new kitchen. Thank you, Marilyn, for posting about it.

However, took a while for me to realise to whom she was referring:

I first represented this as “Lillian Vernon”… my mistake!… That name always comes to mind when reading Sarah’s Blog… I had read and heard of “Lillian Verno…

Source: Sarah Vernon Print – I Found IT! | MKG- Memories-Keepsakes-Gifts

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook will have seen the photograph below. For anyone else, it just so happens that I bought the same print as Marilyn about six weeks ago from Redbubble and with a frame.

As you can see, it hangs above my kitchen sink. I get such a kick out of it. I’m pretty smitten also with my black tap with a white handle, which is from Ikea and the best and easiest mechanism I’ve ever tried.

It replaces what I thought was a beautifully sinuous — apparently very expensive — chrome tap installed by the previous owner but it was a painful ordeal for my fingers.

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And that’s it for now.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Portrait of Lucrezia Borgia by Bartolomeo Veneto [Wikimedia]

Portrait of Lucrezia Borgia by Bartolomeo Veneto [Wikimedia]

At some point in the 1980s, life was going particularly badly — plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose — and my dear, late friend, actor, writer and director Bill Moody, decided that to be reaping so many challenges, I must have been Lucrezia Borgia in a past life. I now begin to think he was absolutely right!

Some of you may have noticed that I was visiting your blogs again yesterday. Has my sight been restored? Nope.

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The bad news is that I learned from the British ophthalmologist that the cataract operation on my left eye that was done in Crete a year ago was so out-of-date that the Isle of Wight specialist had not performed that particular procedure for twenty years.

The good news is that he was able to remove the stitch at the front of the eyeball. This, sadly, has made only minimal difference to the vision but enough to be able to read a little better and see pictures in more detail. The difference was not immediately apparent but became clear (pun intended) about lunchtime yesterday.

The bad news is that all the other stitches from that operation are still in the eyeball and deeply embedded.

The good news is he doubts these are affecting my vision and would prefer to leave them untouched unless later events change his mind.

The bad news is that should the need arise, it’s major surgery for the eyeball.

The next piece of news is good and bad. There is scar tissue that’s developed over the months from, I think, that one stitch he took out but it can be removed by laser and within the month.

In the meantime, I am now on the waiting list for a cataract operation on the right eye. Hurrah!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Scope's Blog

We continue to mark Disability Month with a blog about artist Frida Kahlo, an early 20th century artist whose work explored her feelings towards being disabled and how it affected her body as well as celebrating the life and culture of her native Mexico.

Sam Pugh, who is part of the Scope for Change campaign group and president of the Oxford Students’ Disability Community, writes about why Kahlo is her hero and why she should be remembered during Disability History Month.  

“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.” – Frida Kahlo

There are few disabled people as loved and iconic as Frida Kahlo.

It is thought she was born with Spina Bifida, a congenital defect of the spinal cord, and as a child she contracted polio. She was severely injured as a teenager…

View original post 471 more words


Darlings,

Just a quick note to say that my left eye is even worse and the next appointment is not until January. The NHS have left it so long that a lovely little ‘film’ has grown over the stitch that remains embedded. With the cataract in the right eye ripe for the plucking, I’m finding it almost impossible to read or write at all. This means I shall not be doing my daily visits, ‘likes’ and comments. Sorry.

I will still be publishing the short product posts because little reading or checking is needed to ‘press’ these. But please bear in mind that I will only be ‘liking’ your lovely comments and not actually responding.  All your contributions are, as ever, hugely appreciated so please don’t think that my ‘caring’ bone has disappeared along with my sight!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American followers!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Rethinking Life

If you just want to see the art and what it can do, skip to the middle of the talk.  That way there won’t be any triggers.  The end is important for those looking to help themselves heal.  She has see thousands of successes, which is a truly wonderful thing.

View original post


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Okay, so (as Gigi might say), I have a problem. I find it ironic that only a day or so after discussing The Art of Taking a Break with Teagan and the difficulty thereof, I am being forced into a break by the condition of my eyes.

Many of you know that I had a cataract operation on my left eye in January while still living in Crete. The stitches were not the dissolving kind and while the surgeon removed some of them, one was left. No problem, I thought; however bad the NHS has become courtesy of the Tories’ destructive tendencies, I’ll get it sorted in England.

I am still waiting for a referral. That wouldn’t be so bad if the burgeoning cataract in my right eye had not increased in intensity in a very short space of time.

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The worst of it is, though, that when I woke up on Wednesday morning, the stitch in the left eye had appeared to shift making it impossible to see with any consistency or clarity. It’s not even a question of magnification as the stitch (or whatever else is at play) is cutting a path through everything. I can almost work something out with the aid of my magnifying glass but it’s awfully tiring, my darlings.

I will not be blogging, visiting or commenting for the foreseeable future. If you knew how long it has taken me to write this post, you would order me to step away from the computer and put down the magnifying glass and you would be right to do so!

I’m seeing my GP tomorrow and will not leave the surgery until I’ve seen him chase up the eye department at the hospital.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


blog1-sarah-vernon-1460986311-medium

I’m not well at the moment, hence my lack of blog posts and comment answers.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


It’s World Scleroderma Day so another outing for this post to spread awareness of this little-known auto-immune condition that affects me.

It’s a very strange feeling when you discover that an artist you admire had the same disabling illness as you have, especially when it’s relatively rare, not to mention impossible to de…

Source: First Night Design | Me, Paul Klee, and Scleroderma


The lovely and inspiring Nick Verron has recently discovered the exhilaration of playing with images. As Janet Weight Reed is often saying, art in all its forms is a way through life that brings comfort, joy and understanding, whether it’s your living or not. It is something few governments have ever grasped.

I just wanted to put a quick post together, to give you a sample of the different photography related stuff I’m playing with. To ensure some variation, and to make sure I’m not closing any doors, I’m dabbling in everything right from digital art through to wannabe photography.

I’ve noticed many parallels in understanding between life and photography/art. I’ll share with you a photo/picture, then gabble away a bit about it…

Source: Life Is What You Make It | Nick Verron


James Gillray was a famously prolific artist who produced well over a thousand engraved satires in his lifetime. In later years, when his mental and physical health were visibly deteriorating, George Cruikshank would regard the speed and ferocity with which Gillray worked with something approaching a sense of horror: “Sometimes he would at once etch a subject on the prepared copper plate… unable even to submit to the process of drawing it upon paper… he worked furiously, without stopping to remove the burr thrown up by the [engraving tool]; consequently his fingers often bled from being cut by it”. When not actively engaged in the business of making caricatures, Gillray would draw and paint constantly, his body becoming so accustomed to the habit even when he was at rest, his hand would “pulsate electrically… moving as if in the act of painting”. To observers like the young Cruikshank, it must have seemed as…

Source: James Gillray’s missing leg | The Printshop Window


I have a mild form of synaesthesia – I’m spelling it the English way — and see days of the week and months of the year in coloured shapes. My fellow blogging synaesthetes include Linda from Country Woman Paints and Benjamin from Expressions of My Life. I dedicate this reblog from The Public Domain Review to the two of you!

Originally posted The Public Domain Review

“The music of Mendelssohn”

Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia

Grounded in the theory that ideas, emotions, and even events, can manifest as visible auras, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater’s Thought-Forms (1901) is an odd and intriguing work. Benjamin Breen explores these “synesthetic” abstractions and asks to what extent they, and the Victorian mysticism of which they were born, influenced the Modernist movement that flourished in the following decades.

“I have always considered myself a voice of what I believe to be a greater renaissance — the revolt of the soul against the intellect — now beginning in the world,” wrote William Butler Yeats to his mentor, the Irish nationalist John O’Leary, in 1892. Yeats believed that magic was central not only to his art, but to a dawning epoch when spirituality and technology would march together toward an uncertain future.

Thought-Forms, a strange, beguiling, frequently pretentious, utterly original book first published in 1901, emerged from this ferment of late-Victorian mysticism. It was written by Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater, erstwhile members of the London Theosophical Society alongside Yeats, and it features a stunning…

via Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia | The Public Domain Review


Originally posted on First Night Design.

It’s a very strange feeling when you discover that an artist you admire had the same disabling illness as you have, especially when it’s relatively rare, not to mention impossible to describe succinctly. Paul Klee — though it wasn’t diagnosed until ten years after his death in 1940 — had Scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that can be utterly debilitating. I have wanted to write about Scleroderma and its affect on my life and work for some time but I never thought I would be doing so with reference to Paul Klee!

In essence, Scleroderma in all its forms is a chronic circulatory and connective tissue disorder in which the body’s defences attack its own organs and tissues. The Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association website describes it thus:

‘Scleroderma is an uncommon disease of the immune system, blood vessels and connective tissue. In this condition the skin, usually…

via First Night Design | Me, Paul Klee, and Scleroderma | First Night Design.


Off-topic:
Christopher John Ball hits the nail on the head about bullying of the disabled. As I have commented on the original post, my disability is not as obvious so that while I have not experienced some of the extreme circumstances he details, I do get that low-level, unwanted, attention which wears me down. Makes you ashamed to be a human being when there are fellow humans behaving like this! My condition is only part of who I am but it nevertheless informs most things I do and many of my ideas about life, justice and equality. The Coalition has done irreparable damage to our lives with their wholesale demonisation, not to mention their benefit sanctions. and I’m sick of an unelected government that not only lacks compassion but is hell-bent on enriching ‘them’ at the expense of ‘us’. It is criminal. It has to stop.

Christopher John Ball

boots_2015_MINI_3“Asylums with doors open wide,
Where people had paid to see inside,
For entertainment they watch his body twist,
Behind his eyes he says, ‘I still exist.’” – Atrocity Exhibition – Joy Division

It is sad to say that many of us who have a disability or impairment will be able to recall experiences of having been bullied, picked on, singled out and abused, both verbally and physically, as we go about our lives. Would it be fair to say that we often take this abuse as being a ‘normal’ part of our daily routine, experiences that we have perhaps come to expect and, in the eyes of many as I will explain, something we should ‘put up’ with?

The ‘incident’ that inspired this article occurred on Saturday 14th March 2015. My partner and I were waiting to catch a train to Euston from Watford High Street Overground Station…

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