Thursday, 10 July 2014

No Music


Six weeks ago my older brother sent me a message to let me know our younger brother wanted to speak to me.  He said my dad was in hospital.

I'd not spoken to either my younger brother or my father for a couple of years.  I'd not seen my Dad in over 20 years.  I knew if he had left the house and agreed to go to hospital it must be serious.  I didn't hesitate to say baby bro could ring me and we talked like no time at all had passed but I wasn't going to rush into agreeing to see my dad.  The situation had totally blindsided me.  I had made the decision to go no contact calmly and made my peace with it.  I haven't been scared of my father for a long time.  I was the same height as him when I saw him last and was no longer physically intimidated.  In the years that have passed I have had some very long and frank conversations with him about exactly what happened during my childhood.  I have told him exactly what I think about his chosen methods of discipline, parenting and how his reaction to my disclosures of abuse made a nightmare situation much worse.

He listened though.  More to the point he apologised.

Three days after he was admitted a nurse rung me and asked if I would come and sit with him.  Petrified as he is of anything medical, hospitals and tests I suppose I should have been surprised it took this long for him to have an almighty anxiety attack.  So I made the decision to go and see him.  I sat in the back of the taxi staring out of the window.  I last saw him when I was 18, angry, seriously flirting with a complete breakdown and so very thin.  Now I was nearly 35, fat, limping and, I realised, calm and collected.

Having found out where his bed was I took a deep breath and walked down the ward.  He spotted me first, it took me a moment to recognise him.  The clean shaven quite stocky man I remembered had been replaced by a frail old man with an impressive mane of hair and a beard.  He has always had very blue eyes and they lit up when he saw me and tried to struggle to his feet to hug me.  We didn't have long before the ambulance arrived to transport him to the other hospital but he asked about me and my family and said over and over how good it was to see me.

Walking next to him to the ambulance he kept looking up from his wheelchair at me and grinning.  I'm not going to lie, it is nice to see someone light up just because you have walked in the room.  I said I'd come back and see him the next day.  I did and have been visiting almost daily since.  Yes it is exhausting and stressful but it has also been good to sit and argue about politics, listen to tales of his youth.  It seems important to him that I understand who he was and is as a person not just a role.

He asked me to take control of pretty much everything from his finances to figuring out where he will be rehoused too.  Yes, I did take some pleasure in pointing out that considering 'the man is the head of the household' it was funny how he wanted me to deal with everything and trusts me implicitly to do the right thing.  He had the grace to look embarrassed.

It has been confusing for my friends and in particular Chris.  They've heard nothing positive about this man, never met him and yet here he is taking up a lot of my time suddenly.  He referred to me the other day as always being a 'faithful daughter'.  I couldn't help but laugh, it was ridiculous.  Among other things I took him to court when I was 15 and blood was drawn deeply on both sides of that particular battle.  I've told him bluntly more than once what I think about his choices and removed myself physically and emotionally every time he has been less than respectful towards him.  "You are here now though" he said.  "I am more vulnerable than I've ever been and I know you won't exploit that."  He is right.  The thought never occurred to me.  More than that, I realised I am not doing this out of duty.  I think it is doing me some good.  I've never had a father before, not really.  It's weird but it's not duty.

Then, a week ago today, I had to call the GP currently overseeing his care to ask her advice because he was feeling sick.  Boo was away on a school trip and I had promised Roo a film and dinner.  So thinking it would be a quick call I rung her.  She is lovely, warm and empathetic and she told me that his blood work was very worrying in fact the level of inflammation could indicate a form of leukemia and she was doing more tests.  When I said I had nursed my grandmother through the final stages of leukemia she dropped all pretence and told me that was her major concern.  In a sort of daze I suggested we not tell my father anything till it was confirmed as his anxiety was already debilitating.  I hung up the phone, called my brother back who was with my dad and reassured them all was well cheerfully.  I emailed Chris and I went to the cinema.

For two hours, in the safety of the dark, tears rolled down my cheeks.  We were finally establishing the kind of paternal relationship I could handle, honest (mostly) and respectful and now he might die?  I told Chris, I told Lin and yesterday when I saw him face to face I told my little brother.  It was necessary to let a couple of other people in on the 'secret' partly for my own sanity and partly practically.

I saw his current GP this morning and she told me that while they would keep monitoring him because his body is still not doing things they understand, his ESR level had halved and the probability of it being leukemia was significantly reduced.  It's been a very long week and an even longer 6 weeks.

I don't have a song for this post.  I don't have a playlist of top 5 positive parenting tracks because this is all new to me.

Monday, 19 May 2014

New Music - Terry Emm

What better way to start a new week than with some new music?

The latest single from Terry Emm fits the bill perfectly, it is out today and is a really beautiful and pop infused song.  The sun is shining so even though it is another Monday morning throw open the windows and play this loud.

As if that wasn't enough to kick start your week, I also caught up with Terry recently for a chat.

We have reviewed your work before here on Adlibbed Terry, but would you mind introducing yourself for anyone not familiar with you and your music?

Well I’m a singer-songwriter from Bedfordshire and have been playing guitar since I was 10 years old and write a variety of stuff under the genres ‘alt-folk’ and ‘pop’ and everything inbetween.

‘Starlight’ the title track of your new album is very gentle like previous singles ‘Gently’ and 'Loved and Never Lost, does the album continue in the same vein?

The bulk of the album I guess you could say is in my usual style but I feel I’ve matured slightly over time in different ways and the production sound varies with a different producer involved. However there are also a few suprises- some more upbeat guitary tracks with organs and piano, with more of a guess you’d say ‘power-pop’ vibe to them. Someone described it as a bit like Tom Petty.

I've read some pieces that compare you to the late Nick Drake, is he a conscious influence on your work?

To begin with, no. I took influence on my solo stuff mainly from people like Mark Kozelek (probably my biggest influence), Neil Halstead, Bonnie Prince Billy, Iron And Wine, John Denver, Neil Young, The Beatles. There was a whole Nick Drake renaissance and everywhere I was playing people who’d say to check him out. It wasn’t what I was expecting at first but then I got really into it and the mysticism of his death and it has influenced me a lot since. The whole story of his life and career has been in some ways a comfort to me with my own personal struggle with the music industry having also grown up in a small village and also playing music that is sensitive and not trad folk but ‘english’ in a certain way. I visited his grave and house once with a friend from University on a little trip. My friend pressed the doorbell and there was some pretty hefty dogs barking and an annoyed looking woman came out so we legged it. That was a nice and pretty amusing day.

What inspired you to become a singer and songwriter?

It was tough to keep bands together at school and as a teenager and never felt anyone else I met was truly into it as much as me, apart from one bass player who moved to America and is in some great bands out there now- then I also started listening to more singer-songwriters and introspective music, so naturally turned inwards and modeled myself on those guys (a lot of them mentioned in the previous question)

You have some gigs coming up in the next couple of months, what do you enjoy most about playing live?

I’ve started to enjoy it recently more as just ‘whatever comes out on stage, comes out’, in terms of stories I might say or things I might do inbetween songs, a bit more ‘off the cuff’, sometimes it works really well and other times you just get the eccentric people laughing about it all with you afterwards. Have enjoyed meeting a lot of people at gigs recently where I used to want to just get away from everyone straight away after I’d played and would skulk about my merch table not making much effort to sell anything. Still don’t sell much though. Haha. Think I’ve matured slightly and my playing is better- the new songs are fresh and the old ones flow out easy like water. So it’s all positive at the moment.

You can pre-order Terry's album, Starlight, here.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Distract Me!

I am having one of those days where I can't settle for long enough to actually accomplish much.  Blogger kindly told me that in the last week a few people had read this post from last year.  It includes the following:

My lovely January girls bought me a pimped up crutch because I keep dropping my stick. That is helping a lot and I am so grateful for them and the crutch. I have to keep on my feet regardless of the pain and the falls because it is around 6 months or so until my next dexa scan. If I stop walking then my bone density will not have recovered and may have even dropped further which will mean life long treatment for that and I'd rather avoid that for as long as possible.

Well it is D for Dexa Day tomorrow.  7 months ago I noted the importance of remaining mobile.  3 months ago I was awarded funded taxis to get the girls to and from school because of the pain and the falls.  At the start of last month I took delivery of a wheelchair after the pain clinic told me not to cut off my nose to spite my face.  I have told myself for the last 2 years not to worry about this result until I get it and for the most part I've managed it.  But now it is tomorrow and I need some major distracting...  For good or ill this always distracts me....

However the realisation it was one of the singles I bought the week of my 18th birthday is just frankly depressing...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Since You've Been Gone

So.  I thought I'd do a blog post and say hi and update you on why things have been so quiet round here.  Sorry about that, I have been busy honest.  In no particular order the following is going on:

  • I've been busy with Things We Don't Know.  I am really enjoying myself and hopeful the role is going to be taking up more of my time as the enterprise grows.
  • My best friend got married and then a group of us went to the Sci Fi Weekender.  I had a marvellous time and even got up in a very large room and asked Odo a question.  I never used to do this kind of thing but these days I tend to have less regrets.

  • I have a wheelchair now.  It is taking more getting used to than I expected and it isn't giving me quite the amount of independence I was hoping for.  On the other hand I am hopeful that by next April I might have built up enough stamina to complete the Neurocare 5k in my chair.  It gives me something to aim for.  I haven't pimped my chair yet either.  Maybe once I have personalised it a little more it will feel more like it belongs to me.  
  • I've had a couple of hospital trips too and get my latest bone scan results in a couple of weeks and I'm nervous about it.  I am also seeing a new neuro consultant in a couple of weeks too.  I'm nervous about that too.  I am waiting for social services to come out and assess me for adaptions to the house and stuff.  
  • Peter Capaldi sent Paul & Lin an autographed picture after I wrote to him.  They are fairly impossible to buy presents for and I wanted to to get them something extra special.
  • I am interviewing Vix of We've Got a Fuzzbox... fame for Pennyblack.  I am still hopeful there may also be an interview with ABC somewhere on the horizon.
  • Ruth is taking me to the theatre on Tuesday to see Brassed Off.  This time I will refrain from squealing loudly if I see Richard Wilson.  I will also not stand her up like I did last time (totally by accident I hasten to add).  I have written reminders EVERYWHERE and I'm really looking forward to it.  I will probably cry though.  The film always makes me cry.
  • I'm going to see Pulp - A Film About Life Death and Supermarkets in June.  It is the opening night film of Sheffield Doc/Fest.  Helen is coming up for it and to spend the night on my sofa which I am very excited about.  Anticipation is doing a good job of blocking out any age related wobbles the whole 20 years since Britpop thing is causing.
  • Mark Morriss is playing Sheffield again in July.  After having to miss both him and Shed Seven due to illness last year, I am determined not to be ill this time.  I love this video for the single Space Cadet.  Not enough people have viewed it on YouTube at all so I insist this is remedied immediately.
  • I've had a short piece about Cult TV accepted by Fox Spirit which I'm hoping will be published soon. I've sent off a couple of other pieces to other places that I am waiting to hear about.  
So I've not been slacking I promise.  There is just so much going on!

Friday, 4 April 2014


So.  Been a bit quiet around here recently.  I've had a lot to get my head around and despite appearances, I actually work through 90% of this stuff offline, in my head and with the boy and my closest friends.  We now have transport in place twice a day to help me get the girls to and from school.  My mobility has got worse and a more serious than usual fall 4 weeks ago shook all of us up.  I fell down a flight of stairs and got some very impressive bruises to show for it.  The GP said as I had a leg that was basically 1 big hematoma, it could be another month or longer before it fully heals.  Of course fibro means that will probably take longer she says so yay to that.

I have got my next bone scan next week and it is the first time I've not felt wholly confident about the result.  If the density has not recovered or dropped even lower then there is medication but it will be more medication for me to balance and it will be for the rest of my life.

Yesterday I was seen in pain clinic.  My nurse is really really lovely and we hit it off which makes appointments a lot easier.  The subject of pain relief patches like fentanyl came up again and I am happy to review my meds, especially as she told me 2 of the meds I take can cause fits.  "Still" she said, "if it does make you fit don't worry it will just be a normal fit not anything to worry about."  Hmmmm.  We also discussed pain management and quality of life and ways I could continue to best help myself.  Wheelchairs came up.  I was expecting, hoping really, she would say we weren't there yet.  She didn't and I've ordered the wheelchair.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I figured it would happen eventually but I was planning on being at least 60.  On the other hand I didn't plan having a brain haemorrhage at any point so, you know, life happens when you are making other plans and all that.

The plus side of this is that hopefully when I go out I can enjoy myself more.  I could take the girls to the park this summer and be in less pain and not stuck to a bench just watching them.

In other much more exciting news, I attended my first Sci Fi weekender last weekend with the new Mr & Mrs Hughes, Becky and Manda.  We had a brilliant brilliant time.  I got to ask Odo a question.  I'm not sure if I am more excited about that or the fact he told me it was a great question.  Blurting out a stupid question is always my main worry in these situations!  My face hurt from laughing by the time we left on Sunday and I am already very excited for next year and planning the nest outfit - steam punk this time I think.....

Plus I am still working on editing my novel with a few to submitting it for publishing at the end of the month.  Whatever the outcome it is a great learning experience even if the curve is very steep.

Anyway.  So some awesome stuff has happened and is going to happen and some stuff is not so great but it could be worse.  I will try and get back into writing here more regularly honest....

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