I love coffee. I mean: that smell, that taste, that buzz, even the appearance of it steaming away in a cup. And the effort that a good barista puts into getting it just right – it’s a joyous thing. Did I mention I love coffee?
Until this week I had not drunk coffee for about six weeks, since I had a flare-up of irritable bowel syndrome. Having to eat and drink more cautiously for a while is fine (in fact, when my lupus flared in the meantime it was quite helpful – when thinking through brain fog, fewer choices = good) but damn I missed coffee!
So this week, feeling miles better, I treated myself. I have also read some good books, including The Light Between Oceans and the first few volumes of Y the Last Man by Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra. Life is good.
One of the joys of having lupus is the many blood tests I have to have. Okay, that was sarcastic but the regular trips to the GP surgery are actually quite fun. Maybe not fun. Diversions from the normal routine that aren’t too unpleasant. That’s closer.
I always book my blood tests for first thing in the morning on a work day. I stroll up the hill against the flow of people heading to work or school, spend about two minutes with a nurse and then amble on my way to work. I’ve warned my manager that I’ll be a little late in, so I’m in no hurry. I sometimes need a pick-me-up after having blood drawn so I treat myself to a sugary breakfast. I get to see a slightly different view of my neighbourhood, like the lollipop man outside the local primary school who makes crossing the road so much easier. And it’s morning, which is a time I think I like. Probably.
The blood test itself isn’t too bad these days. I’m inured to the whole thing. I’m lucky that the two practice nurses are great (that’s nurses at the medical practice, not nurses who are practising on me, obviously, though I did have a student nurse draw my blood once – it wasn’t pleasant, I had to lie down for a while). You might think all nurses are equally capable of taking blood but believe me, you’re wrong. I show them which vein looks good and we chat a little about holidays, family, weather, whatever. Before I know it the tourniquet’s off, the plaster’s on and I’m saying goodbye. While my health is steady as it has been all year (I’m not superstitious but I feel I should touch wood or something here) I only have to have one sample taken, which is a whole lot better than the armful I used to give every month.
But regardless I’m always a little nervous beforehand and a little relieved afterward. As I was today. It was particularly cold, with a biting wind and I was worried I’d chosen a bad outfit for getting at my inner arm easily. But it all went fine and I was feeling cheerful as I bought my cappuccino and brownie from A Cappella, then strolled down the road sipping at my drink, having a nose at a shop that’s opening soon and someone’s house covered in scaffold. Now maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention to where I was going or maybe I wasn’t fully awake still but personally I blame the police siren and the car that looked like it was about to mount the pavement and head straight for me. Either way I walked into a wall and spilled my coffee all down me. Perfect.
My day wasn’t ruined but I’m still uncertain about this morning thing. It might just be the lupus, but another hour of sleep sounds a whole lot better than an early morning walk to me.