December was busy towards the end. Four full days of socialising - more than is normal in half a year, all packed into a week. It could have been more, but I begged some down time.

It was a good idea - and necessary - to take complete time off during this period to recover. As a result of resting, I came up with a mountain of content ideas for both work and Patreon as the year ticked over.

But … fate had other ideas.

January. 11 medical appointments in 15 work days. In six different medical specialities. For mostly unrelated problems. And it’s not even the end of the month.

Each appointment knocked out at least half a day with travel and waiting time. One of those was meant to be an easy and tiny laser treatment for a venous lake/angioma on my lip. It was unexpectedly and spectacularly messy, needing urgent stitches will take much longer to recover.

Add to that, it’s that time of month when hormones torture me with endometriosis pain and constant migraines.

It’s frustrating that digital referrals and results by phone or email would have more than halved the number of those appointments.

I’m utterly exhausted.

Upcoming procedures and tests

Having a collection of somewhat related chronic illnesses means, at the minimum, I lose several attending tests and waiting for doctors each month. It’s been extreme recently.

This year by day 18, my eyes have new prescription glasses, liver test results were discussed, and the quarterly rheumatology circus to access my medication has been performed.

Now, I’m to chase down new kidney problems with the local hospital, discuss another (likely) endometriosis laparoscopy with the surgeon in Berlin, find a new trauma psychotherapist as my current has a limit of two therapy courses per patient, and arrange a second ENT opinion for the bloody sinusitis I’ve had since 2019. I’m going to leave the pulmonology until I see the endometriosis surgeon as I suspect the breathing problems stem from endo on the diaphragm.

Medical burnout is an intractable problem.

With just the diagnostics eating so much time month, I can’t afford - neither time, nor energy, nor financially - to attend therapies that would help with the rheumatism, neuropathy and the ongoing lymph problems from the DIEP (physiotherapy, lymph drainage, pain clinic).

Scheduling recovery days

Care is my most important focus word for this year.

It has many meanings, and encompasses all of them - care for others; careful planning and spending of money, attention, and energy; care taken to produce good work; self-care; …

As I noted in my Patreon post on my focus words for 2023, I plan to schedule recovery days after any period that drains my energy.

Right now, a rest fortnight sounds most appropriate.

But, I can afford a day or two off work. That’s more than I have allowed myself in the past.

Creative projects to distract and recover

Restful, gentle, creative projects are my lifeline.

  • Knitting and crochet can be done curled up on the couch with the cats.
  • Weaving is excellent for a bit more movement and to calm a scattered or overactive mind. Best done standing though, with my loom setup.
  • Spinning is the best for seated zoning out and draining the lower lymph - ideal before bed.
  • Painting and sketching can be done at my desk, and occasionally on the couch (not ink splodge paintings though), and are both a good warm up to thinking work.

Want to show some support?

If you’re interested in following my creative projects as they progress, or the productive balcony garden which is currently dormant for winter, I share regular updates, photos and videos with my patrons.

Occasional photos are posted on Instagram and Mastodon, and original art and yarn projects are available for purchase from my Ko-fi shop.

I also share a little of these projects in monthly slow vlogs and occasional shorts on YouTube - please subscribe to my channel and like the videos if you want to see more.