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Who is The Chronic Elephant?

ME and Chronic pain keep me bed-bound... and creating art and writing blogs keep me sane.

I blog about how to cope when pain is bad, what it feels like to receive well meant advice ( don't do it people!), how to keep your faith when you don't get better, explorations into planet Gluten Free, and how to avoid steering your disability scooter through something the dog owner should have bagged and binned..
The images posted on here are of me reclaiming my life and living it one tiny bit at a time. You can see art works inspired by my everyday life, about coping with life in bed, and images of flowers, plants, imaginary worlds, my faith and my felt tips.

You will also find my mumblings- writings, thoughts and blog entries, about being me and about having ME!

I have been writing blogs on ME and disability for the last year using 'the elephant' avatar and name. It started as a joke...(I am not likely to be wandering 'back to the jungle' anytime soon)....but I think the l…


Eagle- eyed readers may recall that my last Blog on this subject was back in April 2017, when I wrote about Friends Without Benefits.  As we are still in the sanity-testing maelstrom, that is applying for disability benefit in the UK, it seems timely to have an update ( spoiler alert: I am not smiling or looking relieved).

To recap- I had applied in September '16 and was refused benefit. I did a Mandatory Reconsideration ( to add more evidence), and was refused again. This would have been easier to deal with if it had not happened during the period when I was struggling to accept my disability and learning to adapt to do some things and not to do others.

I am writing this propped up in bed- where I spend (at least ) 80% of my time. Within my eye-line, is a walker with wheels, a trolley I can push along when I can't carry things, and an over-bed trolley like you get in hospitals. I am propped up a little by an electric pillow raiser.

In short, I am disabled.

Around 6 weeks ago,…


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A year ago, like Howard Carter finding the tomb of Tutankhamen, my ears and I were dazzled and amazed when a trawl through a drawer full of junk unearthed an elderly ipod Nano. Surprisingly it still worked, and after I cranked up my tiny brain, pod-things got searched for, found, and then subscribed to, and eventually downloaded and enjoyed.

I was amazed at how this sub-culture has mushroomed in the years whilst I was pod-less. There are now podcasts on every subject you can imagine, and with every style of presentation, ranging from panel discussions to stand up, celebrities discussing their taste in clothing, to the bereaved confiding their grief. There are shows about politics, astronomy, music, stand-up comedy, dramas, mental health, and chakras...and let’s not forget the Archers.
These are podcasts I really enjoy and  ( I think), will be for both men and women. Elephants as well...

So this is how my ears and I like to spend a large part of the day- sucking in all this inte…

The End of the Beginning: My 4th Disability Anniversary

There are times when writing a Blog is great...and times when life  is a barely functioning shambles, and I'd prefer not to be shuffling it into the light of public gaze.

October 28th 2017 was the latter..

 When I Blogged about having a 'Disability Anniversary'  I received some very thought provoking and reactions- for which I am grateful.

I appreciated your heartfelt feedback, and have thought afresh about the fact that for all of us the onset of getting ill is probably up there with life's shittiest experiences...and that for some this had involved life and death situations. The word celebrate can feel like a sad joke...but, as I had resolved to do it- I did it! This Blog is about my 'celebration' attempt.

You will remember that I planned to mark the 4th anniversary of when I had first begun to be DISABLED.I had treated myself to sparkly nail polish...had planned to make a ' cake'( of sorts)...and had been given a nice glossy magazine to enjoy on The Day…

My World...And Christina's World .

In 2010 I was lucky enough to visit New York for the second time. It was a very special visit for many reasons, not least of all my lovely friend who hosted me. By day I roamed the streets and galleries, whilst she was at work, and so I visited MOMA. 

It is a beautiful building full of American Art and sculpture from 19th century on...

The piece that hypnotized me with its subject and it's theme was this: 

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth c.1948: ( 82cm x 1.21)
Compared to much of the 'shouty' conceptual art, on display, it had a quiet and determined power. I stood before it for ages, went off to another room, then found myself having to return to it.-twice! Maybe I felt some connection in my own experiences. Although compared to now, I was quite comparitively healthy on the NY trip, this piece made me reflect on the period in my 20's when I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. I had found a core of great reslience at my centre that I didn't , feel grateful f…

New Year- New Hippy Pants.

Greetings From The World of Elephant...And Hippy (Happy) New Year! Those of you who had, like me,  what is euphemistically referred to as ' a difficult Christmas',  ...may well be throwing yourselves, or any handy heavy object at your electronic device on reading the word 'Happy'. Allow me to advise you: smashing an expensive piece of technology will make you feel better in the short term....but indescribably worse long term. Being chronically ill...indeed dealing with any situation in your life that is 'chronic', is a marathon not a sprint and we need to pace ourselves for the good things that WILL happen in the next months...despite how sick we are. . BUT: New Year's Day: I cracked. I had the mother and father of all crying jags of self pity. There was sobbing, breathlessness and hair stuck on my face from the floods of saline. It was like a dam bursting:one minute I was fine, then my stoical resources washed away in a nano second. Small animals ran for …

THE YULE BLOG: The Coming of the Christmas Card

Christmas. 'Tis the season to be Blogging sound advice on how to survive the festive season and which treats to buy the spoonie in your life. BAH HUMBUG! 

Personally I am finding Christmas (with assorted chronic problems) fairly challenging, so my cupboard of useful advice on this topic is as bare as Tiny Tim's cold tootsies. advice other than 'just hang in there', is coming from elephant central.

THIS Yule Blog is the story of how a series of scribbles became one of my favourite Christmas card designs: Mother and Child.

Meet Patric Blossom: Living Creatively With Pain.

I have received so much support, kindness and inspiration from my friendship with other people who are developing their creativity, whilst coping with chronic pain or illness.
So, my thanks go to Patric Blossom for sharing his story and his work, and writing this week's Blog:

Hello! 5 years ago I landed with a splat in the realm of chronic pain and illness. Thinking Dysentery was something confined to the medieval ages, I was shocked to find out it was alive and well and eating my insides! It had eaten a hole through my intestines and what followed was emergency surgery to save my life.
 Over the next 11 months I had multiple hospital admissions, enduring several operations, intensive care stays, long term antibiotic therapy and a questionable future. I was eventually assigned the category of ‘lucky to be alive’ though I didn’t feel lucky at the time, and was sent on my way. I was minus several significant pieces of my small bowel and half my large bowel was gone. My abdomen litt…