Part 7: Playing wellbeing whack-a-mole

“Good grief woman, you are rebuilding yourself,” my friend says, as I bring her up to speed on my Wellbeing Quest.

Yes, I think proudly. I have visions of myself as the Statue of Liberty; tall, strong, dignified.

But as we know, every protagonist has her challenges to overcome. And recovery, as they say, is not linear. So it is that I play a game of wellbeing whack-a-mole. As I seek treatment for or resolve one issue, another emerges.

Recently I have been struggling with blurred vision at my laptop. It hasn’t affected my sight at other times, but it’s really hard to get work done when the words are swimming around the screen, fuzzy at the edges. It turns out I have some haze in part of the lens, in both eyes. “It is not a cataract, because it has not turned yellow,” the optometrist emailed me later, somewhat reassuringly. As to what it is, or what has caused it, we don’t know, so I am referred to my GP.

What he was less reassuring about was a saucer-shape lump on my right eye. After a thorough examination he decided he needed a second opinion. So a week later I was sat in another dark room with another optometrist, having an ultra-widefield, high-resolution scan of my retina. 

“Strange” was the second optometrist’s verdict. Not necessarily scary or bad, but definitely odd. With nothing left to do, I’m on a ‘watch and wait’ holding pattern, with instructions to return for a check up in three months.

Now feeling like a slightly wonkier, fuzzier statue, I press on with my wellbeing quest, until I am struck down with the latest iteration of “Daycare Bugs”. Any of you with young children will know the unceasing runny nose that is the first year of childcare. While the little ones bounce back, their full-time carers, cooks and housekeepers (that’s us, parents) are laid low.

Nobody likes a cold at the best of times, but for me it is especially painful. That’s because, for the last few months or so, I have had a series of stinging pimples inside my nose, along with annoying scabs that refuse to heal. Now that I write it down like that, I realise I probably should have had it seen to earlier. But I kept thinking it would eventually go away by itself.

Photo by Pietro Jeng on

It turns out to be Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that apparently 1 in 3 of us carry in our nose. It’s only a problem when it turns into an infection. Fortunately it sounds pretty simple to sort out, and I’m sent off with a tube of cream and a pot of antibiotics. Thank goodness I hadn’t used Dr Google, and read about the nose being in the “triangle of death”, from where infection can spread to the brain, causing cavernous sinus thrombosis, meningitis, or brain abscess. Phew.

The next day I put my feet up (literally) at the podiatrist, where – thankfully – no “strange” or fatal-sounding maladies are found. Instead I walk off into the sunshine with my nails newly painted in “Big Bloom Energy”.

In this series of articles – The Wellbeing Quest – I’m recording my efforts to beat my health issues, including chronic fatigue. Thank you for joining me.

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