I just thought I’d do a mini me update for January 2022 primarily to let you know about a few changes to the blog as I’d love any feedback or criticism. If you don’t want to read the full post then I can sum up the key points quickly here : I went to London & spotted zero celebrities, the news is shit, writing 2022 looks weird, and the Invisibly Me blog has a new host provider, theme and header.
I know there are many of us here who got frustrated and overwhelmed with the news some time ago. Reducing your news intake and taking regular breaks is a good idea, but it still feels like certain things keep getting through.
Everywhere you turn at the moment in the UK, it seems to be about select things, like the unvaccinated Novak Djokovic and the epic saga that was him going to Australia without the correct preparations. This is the guy who got tested for Covid and instead of isolating until the result as direct, spent time around children. After his positive result, he went and did an interview knowing full well he was infected. Nonetheless, the public was in uproar and updates kept coming in thick and fast until, finally, Australia kicked him out. Another tennis star decided to simply not to go Australia because of the pandemic, putting rules and protections for others ahead of himself and his career. Seems like he made the most logical call compared to Novak’s fate. Do we really care, or care enough to hear about it at every possible opportunity? Doubtful. I’d rather have a pigeon peck my eyes out.
We’ve probably all heard about the Partygate scandals, with the UK government holding numerous parties during the periods of lockdown where meeting with others was prohibited. Of course these rules only applied to the plebs (the public), as well as the Queen during the funeral for her beloved husband, and not to the politicians. It’s the hypocrisy that has rightly angered so many. And of course the belief is that no investigation will make the slightest difference so they’ll get away unscathed for their shenanigans and the blood on their hands.
From the negative stories of violence and political scandal, to stories of natural disasters and continual price hikes, it all gets to be too much. Then there’s Covid. One we’ve not escaped for the last couple of years, no matter how much we’d like to.
What gets me is that last year, prior to Omicron, there was a leak about a plan for the UK government to sweep Covid under the rug in the first half of 2022. Toeing the line are particular media outlets like the Daily Mail, who set an agenda a little while ago to promote the end of the pandemic. If people don’t like the truth of the current story, they just reshape it to fit their needs and preferences.
It appears that cases are reducing in the UK, which of course they are when testing rules change: testing reduces, PCR tests are not required for confirmation, and many individuals won’t bother reporting results from lateral flow tests, which also come with a higher rate of false negatives. Hospitalisations and deaths have increased, higher than prior to Omicron, and yet those stats are conveniently being overlooked. All the while there is comparison from one day to the next, or one week to the next, when data has not been dutifully or correctly updated each day for this to be possible.
It seems the government will likely push ahead with taking away remaining restrictions and safety precautions beginning this month, likely because of backbencher revolt, the need to placate the factions of public wanting to get back to their lives, and because too many staff members in all industries (including, of course, the NHS) are absent because of Covid.
I want to be free and get back to live as we knew it before 2019/2020. But I want to be free from Covid, not free from restrictions per se. It’s Covid we should be fighting against, not fighting against each other or the measures like social distancing and masks that are there to keep people a little safer. I do worry that the chronically ill, the elderly, the immunocompromised and all those just not wanting to risk catching Covid or passing it to loved ones will be lost among the crush and be forgotten about, left to fend for themselves yet again.
Anger against our governments and those in power elsewhere is palpable. It builds and grows and takes on a life of its own. That will apply to various countries in all different positions. The decisions and circumstances around the economy, healthcare, social inequality, illegal immigration, jobs, environment, benefits, and so on may be illogical and beyond infuriating and frustrating.
But all we can do is focus on the ways in which we can keep ourselves and those around us safe, and the ways we can moderate our news intake to prevent our brains short-circuiting. There’s a risk that the overwhelm, fear and rage can build up and bubble over, so do try to talk things through with someone if you find it helpful to vent.
Happy New Year
Is anyone else having problems remembering it’s now 2022 and instead still putting 2021 on everything? January 2022 just doesn’t seem right.
I just wanted to wish you all the very best for a Happy New Year! I hope 2022 is kind to you & full of small joys ????
I had to go to London (UK) last Wednesday for two medical-related appointments. The first was to see a specialist for my legal case, and the second was to UCLH to see the second surgeon who would be required for my major surgery, who I’d never seen or spoken to previously.
All in, travel time was about 6hrs that day. Now, I used to go to London semi-regularly before my health went down the pan in 2015, but always with someone else. We could spend the whole day walking miles, going to different places all over the city, having an awesome time. Now I want to fork my eyes out after the 2hr train trip there because the pain is unbelievable and I feel like hell. It’s like being a completely different person. Given the nerve damage from screws in my back, my back and hips are painfully debilitating so I’ve not sat in a chair normally for the last six years. I need my legs out in front of me at the very least. I tried to distract myself as much as possible, fidget and stand up occasionally but by the time I got there, walking off the train was problematic.
It was challenging enough being careful with Covid without everything else health-wise. It feels selfish and pathetic of me to moan about the day being difficult or how I feel like hell at the best of times, and yet this is what so many people with chronic illness or pain conditions go through. The simple is difficult, and the difficult is almost impossible, yet others may not see it at all.
The first appointment was based in a fancy part of London for private practices and involved me talking about my health symptoms to the specialist, who also undertook a physical. I was constantly cut off when talking, and the physical was disturbingly fast and brash.
He offered to do a test for Sjogrens to check my dry eyes right at the end of the appointment. I’d not had the test before but it involves putting some kind of filter material into the lower lid and closing your eyes for five minutes to see how much of the paper is damp. My eyes were very sore, but I assumed that was normal. As soon as it was over, I said my goodbyes and hobbled to the toilet. Sanitized my hands for the 20th time that morning. Looked at my eyes in the mirror…
…And found parts of the filter material had detached and wedged under my eyeball and jammed into the lower lid. No wonder it was literally eye-wateringly sore.
Trying to get said pieces of what felt like cardboard out was excruciatingly difficult. Once un-wedged, the big piece adhered to my eyeball and I had to try very carefully to pick it off, all the time panicking it was going to disappear somewhere it really shouldn’t.
There was then a period of hours to kill before UCLH. I went to Regent’s Park to sit and eat what I’d brought with me, stretch my legs out, and generally test my body’s resistance to getting hypothermia in what felt like morgue cooler temperatures.
The appointment with my surgeon was discombobulating. It was the first time seeing or speaking to him, as earlier appointments were with surgeon number one as it’s a big surgery requiring them both. He called my original surgeon in 2015 a “fucker”, my solicitors “fuckers”, and threw in some “motherfuckers” along the way. I can appreciate a guy who swears almost as much as I do, I just wish he would have worn his damn mask while doing it.
The upshot of the appointment was not pleasant. I’ve been waiting for this – what he describes as very difficult, very major – surgery for a number of long years now. It seems it is all rather too little too late. As much as I had previously tried to convince myself that there was a little chance this might be the case so I wouldn’t be too devastated, that convincing never really reached my brain.
To make matters worse, this surgeon honestly seemed like he could not have cared less about me. That’s not me being too sensitive or taking his approach personally. He really just did not care. So that didn’t feel great either when my face started to fold and I couldn’t stop myself from crying, and he started talking about his next patient.
After all these years of waiting, it now doesn’t sound like there would be much or any possible benefit to the surgery, while the risks have instead just grown. I still have an appointment with the second surgeon who may say there could be some reason for trying, but it wouldn’t be enough even if she did. It feels very much like the end of the road.
The realisation that there’s probably no chance of some improvement is like a punch in the face because I know I can’t keep going as I am, not for the long term. People deal with far, far worse than I, but I am perhaps not as strong as some may think. It should now feel like some kind of relief, but I’m not there yet and I have to primarily consider my parents in my decisions. I’ve not got around to processing it yet or figuring out where to go from here.
All I do know is that this should certainly be a turning point to stress a lot less and give numerous less fucks. I need to start filling the fuck it bucket. I’d really just like a break and some time to slow down. Covid disappearing would be quite nice, too. But it’s all good, I have much to be thankful for that balances out some of the frustration I feel.
I left the swearing surgeon, locked myself in the toilet, (sanitized my hands again), and cried like a baby for 20 minutes. I realised I hadn’t cried in some time so it was a snotty mess affair. I didn’t really process anything, it was just realisation hitting me full frontal while I started thinking morbidly. I’ve not yet told my parents about the outcome of this appointment and I’m not sure why I’m writing this here now, but I’m sure it’ll feel so self-centred that I’ll want to delete it as soon as I’ve published it. I imagine I’m not the only blogger to feel this sort of indecision and awkwardness over open disclosure.
Anyway, I got the tube to get back to the station, which was as packed as ever with people crammed in.
So there we go. I went to London and I didn’t even buy a bloody Heat magazine! (Please tell me someone here gets that reference?!)
The main positive to the day? After the first appointment, I went to Starbucks and got a hot chocolate, the first time in over two years because of the pandemic. It staved off the frostbite and it was a heavenly kind of delicious. I had a lovely lady serve me, who seemed a bit concerned if I was okay (admittedly I probably looked a little worse for wear at this point).
She appeared to undercharge me for the drink, but nonetheless added sauce and lots of sprinkles on top. Thank you, barista with the cool dreads, your kindness meant the world.
I just wanted to sneak in a little apology. I feel like a broken record for saying things have been full-on and I’m very far behind on everything, but it’s true and has been worse than usual of late. At least when I no longer have to antibacterial clean everything because of Covid, I’ll probably have an extra 12hrs to spare each week. There’s no excuse and we all have stuff to deal with. I just wanted to say that I’m sorry to those I keep in contact with online for often taking a while to get back to you; I want you to know that I appreciate you and every message more than you know. Ditto to not being on top of blogs right now. Ironically, pre-illness I was always the one that was quick to reply to all messages and get everything else in my life done in good time. My tardiness or forgetfulness is not a reflection of how much I care.
Blog Breakdown & Refresh
After a lot of problems in recent times with my old host, I decided to bite the bullet and leave early. Thanks to my fellow blogging friend Liz, I signed up with Lyrical Host and they’ve moved me onto their service. The host package cost was far out of my budget, especially considering I also had to buy a theme prior to the migration. However, they’ve been very responsive and kind since the get go, and that’s priceless.
You’ll notice that the dates have also been removed from the permalinks (URL of blog posts), but redirects have been set up to enable old links to still work.
If you’re interested in a new host, you can check out Lyrical Host here & use the discount code INVISME10 for 10% off any package.
Just a note to anyone with an old Pipdig theme – I bought mine a couple of years ago and had never heard about any problems. Apparently, what I wasn’t privy of is that there’s a Pipdig scandal, with the company having illegal and dangerous inserts into their themes and plugins. I didn’t have a clue but it could explain why I had to disable the plugin some time ago because it kept wrecking my site and why I’ve had endless issues with the theme. I’ve written to Pipdig but unsurprisingly haven’t heard back. I’m surprised they’re still running. If you have a Pipdig theme, please do consider speaking with them or do your research online in case their stuff puts your site and others at risk. I’ve since moved to a pricey but decent theme from ThemeForest.
I’ve not had much time to set things up with the new theme, or go through the various problems caused by the migration. The site does seem on the slow side, so if you notice that too then please do let me know. Thankfully I did manage to draft up a new header and I have an odd post ready to publish soon because I’ve not had time for writing more.
It wasn’t the best timing, with legal stuff, health stuff, home jazz and London at the same time as the blog breakdown, but I’m glad it’s all done because I had seriously considered quitting the blog altogether. Maybe I should have. But it feels like this is the only thing I have and the only tiny accomplishment from these last several years, so to give it up now would feel like I’m giving up more than just the blog. I love the community too much leave it yet anyway.
The theme still needs some tweaking but I’d love to hear what you think. I’m finding it hard to get it anywhere close to what I’d actually like. Do you like it or do you hate it? Is there anything you would like to see improved? How’s the header? Can you read it okay and navigate it easily enough? Please do let me know.
How have you all been this last week or two? I hope you’re keeping as warm & well as possible. Take good care of yourselves.