So this is what that has happened to me this week. I ignored all the warning signs and ended up in an ambulance on Friday.

I started to feel abnormally cold at work and was falling asleep. This escalated into severe chills over the next two days which left me shivering uncontrollably. Turning the heating up to 80 degrees, plus sitting next to a portable heater with three layers of clothing did not help. I took myself off to the GP and was diagnosed with a kidney infection and given antibiotics.

However, my relief was short-lived. Only hours later my chills became much more severe. I thought I was going to collapse. The GP came out and declared that I was indeed in danger of collapsing and quite possibly hitting my head on something because my blood pressure was extremely low. He called an ambulance who told me upon arrival that they would only take me into hospital if I was deemed serious enough. After 10 minutes the Paramedics decided that they could not stabilise my vitals nor guarantee my safety so I was taken in.

If only I had heeded the warnings of my severe chills instead of putting it down to stress or overwork or a brewing cold.

At the hospital the blood technicians were unable to draw blood after 30 minutes of trying because, I was told, my body was severely dehydrated and my blood pressure was too low. “It’s like you don’t have any blood”, one technician told me. The consultant whom I was assigned to managed to get blood out of me some hours later after I had been administered some treatment.

Contrary to what people think severe chills are not just associated with kidney infections. In fact after a scan my kidneys were declared clear. I have a viral infection instead. I have lost a stone in 5 days and this wasn’t the way that I had envisioned losing weight in the new year.

I have also learnt that water is not the best way to hydrate yourself, milk is the best option. I have switched to drinking Alpro Soy with Coconut and my energy levels have started to crawl up. I am no where near normal but am getting better.

Helpful medical related posts to read:

https://symptomchecker.webmd.com/multiple-symptoms?symptoms=chills%7Cfatigue%7Cnight-sweats%7Cshaking-chills-(rigors)&symptomids=51%7C98%7C337%7C202&locations=66%7C66%7C66%7C66

https://www.livestrong.com/article/200419-what-are-the-causes-of-chills-and-night-sweats/

 

I had two encounters with Max Clifford, the PR supremo who died today from a heart attack. The first recollection involves a baby, a dummy, WH Smith and Waterloo Station. It happened in 1999. The second chance meeting took place when my daughter was 12 years old in 2011.

Way back when my daughter was about four months old I had taken her to WH Smith in Waterloo Station. She was never separated from her dummy apart from when she would think it was funny to throw it on the floor. Of course, being a baby, like others who pick the most inconvenient of moments to be difficult, she threw her dummy on the floor of the store. It was rush hour. I was sure someone would step on the dummy and squash it. With no spare dummy in the nappy bag I was dreading the consequences. A man blocked the way and picked it up. He gave it to me and I was stunned upon recognising him. Max Clifford was constantly in the news then for breaking stories that were salacious and earned his clients lots of money. I thanked him and he gave my baby a big smile. I literally dined out on that encounter for a long time.

Almost 12 years later we were passing through Waterloo Station again. Max Clifford was waiting for his train. I seized the moment to tell him about the dummy story. He was tickled pink. We had a chuckle and he very nicely offered his help if we ever needed it. There was never a cause to call upon him for.

Soon after the scandal broke about his crimes and he was jailed. I never would have guessed.

My daughter, Maelo Manning, obtained 2 A*s and 2As in her A level exams. Her first choice of university and course has been confirmed. It is to read ‘Philosophy, Politics and Law’ at King’s College London.

Find your bare minimum
and stick to it

Establish the least amount of
work you can get away with per day and do not exceed it. For example, three
emails and a colourful graph.



Do not forget that you have a job

24% of home workers can’t remember who they
work for and what they are supposed to be doing.

Write your employer’s name and job title on a
Post-It note and stick it to the wall above your computer – this is a vital
reference tool.



Alternate internet and
television

It’s easy to waste the day
looking at Youtube clips of ghosts ‘caught on security camera’ and buying scarves.
Every two hours, turn off the internet and turn on the television. ‘Doctors’ is
quite good, also ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’.



Perfect a ‘busy voice’

Working from home is all about self-justification,
and key to this is pretending you’re busy. If anyone rings up, tell them you’re
‘up against it’ and ‘flat out’ in a deep, serious voice.



Work in intense bursts
lasting 45 seconds

You can get more done in a
sharp burst of under one minute than in a whole day spent in the office. For
example, open a Word document in a really intense way. Then go and do something
else.



If anyone tries to stop you working
from home, mutter about ‘productivity’ and ‘creativity’

Sooner or later people will realise you’re
dicking about. Fight your corner in true corporate style by looking upset,
putting on a pathetic, whiny voice and saying some things that don’t make
sense.

Being a blogger is fun because you get to write about an issue or topic of your choosing when you want. Ideas abound everywhere and all it takes is imagination and natural curiosity to spot the potential for a blog post in, both, normal everyday situations and the big situations in life.The best bit about blogging is, for me anyway, that I have complete control over the point of view that I take.


As an example, when I blogged about ‘Love Island’ a few days ago  the angle I took was about the parent and child interaction which interested me as opposed to the hundreds of articles written about the body beautiful contestants. Granted the latter was probably more newsworthy because the millions of viewers who watched ‘Love Island’ can’t have been sitting down just for views of trees swaying in the wind. 


But bloggers are able to bring their own experience and interest to bear which adds to the diversity of opinions in circulation.


It’s all great going till you hit the wall of writer’s block. Don’t believe any blogger who tells you otherwise. It comes to all of us like a big black cloud that will not budge. Do you wait till it passes or do you fight back? If you choose to fight back how do you do this?

My well thumbed personal copy

I have discovered a whole list of great ideas to bust writer’s block in ‘The Million Dollar Blog’ book by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. Chapter 7 in the book titled ‘Content Creation’ is all about the constant need to generate ideas that can spark off blog posts and the freeing up of one’s ability to think up ideas. Recognise the following scenario which Natasha describes in the chapter?


“It’s a new day. You’re sitting at your computer, all fired up. You begin to type today’s blog post-and you freeze. The screen remains depressingly blank as you feel your anxiety levels rising-you’ve got to write something, but what?”


Natasha, the author, lists what she refers to as “tricks” to unblock creative thought. These are:


1. Research your readers. Diving into your readers’ worlds is important in coming up with blog posts that will help you connect with them. Using Google’s keyword planner and Google’s Trend tool to search for specific words and phrases will give you a valuable insight into what your readers are looking for.

2. Using surveys on social media to directly reach out to your followers to ask them what they would like to read or suggesting topics and asking them for their views on whether these would interest them as readers.

3. Look at what your competitors are blogging about. What have they written that catches your eye and can you rewrite this using your own voice and point of view? Caveat – don’t plagiarise and offer something different in tone and substance.

4. Write about what you think about. We all have a myriad of ideas that flash through our brains every day. The trick is to capture these in words via a blog post.


5. Write about what other people ask you. Are you an agony aunt in your personal life to family and friends? Could you write about the problems that you are asked to help out with?


6. Hijack the news by looking at news websites, magazines, newspapers for ideas that you could give an opinion on.


7. While most ideas have been written about and rehashed a million times it does not mean that a fresh view cannot be offered.


The list above is a paraphrasing of what is set out in the book. It’s a book worth reading in full, by the way.


The strategy I employ is to cut out articles, op-eds and even pictures from newspapers that I can refer to for ideas.

My source of idea

It would be great to hear from other bloggers about tactics they use to blast writer’s block.