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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…

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…

Taking Dysautonomia with a Pinch of Salt

In this final part of this mini series on all things POTsie, I will try to give some idea of how I self manage. 

 To recap-  I had been diagnosed by a Dr. who had tested my heart, and  had done blood work etc AND was experienced in seeing many patients with this condition.  Yup....I had Dysau...Dystau......Dystort......well, anyway....I had this ...problem, and aside from learning to spell the wretched thing, I was going to have to learn how to manage, because, as usual, there was not going to be a magic cure on the horizon.

So this is my list of things to keep in mind, if I want to make the  ' the fainty- wobbly-sicky-horizontal-experience'  less likely:
THINGS THAT MAKE DYSAUTAUNOMIA WORSE: Becoming dehydratedIgnoring hunger pangsStressME flare-up ( be on alert that this makes 'a sag to the floor' far more likely)Any activity that makes my heart beat faster.Sitting upright when my body is begging me to rest flat ( with legs raised)Hoping if I didn't plan for it…

Elephant Down!- What the heck is Dysautonomia ?

Welcome back to my 'Idiots Guide to Dysautonomia'( that's me that's the idiot, not you! ) 

So how does Orthostatic Intolerance feel? I feel really YUCKY ( to use a technical term), before, during and after. My heart beats heavier.The sudden onset of cotton wool legs feel as if they are bowing out from under me. It is all very unpleasant. Strange sensations in the abdomen, disruption to my vision ( I literally can't see straight). My body craves food, I feel dry and thirsty. I find talking difficult, thinking the words, then saying them is a struggle. After I have got to bed, I feel very ill, a sensation not unlike the high temperatures of childhood fever. I can't move, even raising my head  onto the pillow is very difficult.
It is all so sudden...and no it is not a panic attack- those feel very different. With Dysautonomia my energy is too low for panicking, or even forming cohesive thoughts. I feel as if I am slipping away....but I don't really care either wa…


So, this is part of an intermittent series about things that inspire me- not only creatively, but that make my heart and soul sing joyfully.

I know that many of my 'Chronically Lovely' friends, like me, are flared- up at the moment. 

Many more 'normal' folk, find the changing of the season a daily battle against negative feelings, grey skies and shorter days.

It is frustrating when I am too sick to make art(!)- but thanks to Professor Google,I can still enjoy some lovely nibbles of other people's creations.

Those of you who know me or regularly follow my Blog or Facebook page, will know how important colour is to me. Colour feels like the fuel in my engine. 

I have rediscovered two sources of inspiration about colour:

The History of Art in Three Colours- a wonderful 3 part,  BBC Documentary. If brain fogged, you can enjoy for the photography and colour, and if up for learning some new stuff you will be really fascinated.  Dr James Fox guides us around Gold, Blue and Whit…

Fainting by Numbers - Dysautonomia Part 1

There was the time, 28 years ago, that I spent August Bank Holiday weekend in hospital instead of attending the Notting Hill Carnival in London. There was the plane journey from Gatwick to Milan where I passed out repeatedly, ( whilst sitting down !). And there was the ultimately embarrassing situation where I stopped the Milan rush hour traffic, when I slid slowly down the  tram pole I was clinging to, like a weary stripper...and woke up with an ambulance man interrogating me in Italian! There have been other times, other places and many near misses, where I have lain flat, or just got to bed in the nick of time....

The pattern with the hospital admissions has always been the same: I am taken by ambulance, and after some hours am released, exhausted but with clear round of tests and an armful of saline drip. 
Aside from the anxiety surrounding the prospect of waking up in front of strangers ( have I peed my pants...and has someone nicked my purse?) and having no idea where I am...there…