Monday, 16 March 2015

Why I've never hidden my scars

Some scars are internal and not so easily seen, but today I'm not being quite so metaphorical. Today I'm talking about an illness that nearly took my life and left me covered in scars.

When I was little I had meningitis. I was 3 and was a healthy child. Until one day that changed our lives. My parents have told me stories of that day and I am in awe of how fast things can change and how strong they were. So here is the story from the beginning.

That day I had a fever and was covered in red marks. My mum thought it was chicken pox as it was going around and rung a family friend who happened to be a nurse to confirm. No one really knew what the test for meningitis was just that there was something about a glass involved. I started getting more and more ill and was taken to an emergency doctors.

When we arrived the doctor immediately diagnosed meningitis and called an ambulance. I was going straight to hospital. My mum, very heavily pregnant at the time, came with me and I was balanced on her as we laid in the ambulance. She said the experience was very weird with the blue lights flashing and the speeds she had no idea where we were. Not to mention the small ceiling height windows that only allowed her to see the large mast on the way there.

Once we got to the hospital it was all systems go and I was very quickly transferred to Great Ormond Street. I was in intensive care, being helped to breath and sedated. It must of been so hard for my parents. In the space of a couple of hours I was in a critical condition and there was a moment when my Dad just had to walk away from my bedside. He thought I was going to die. That day he decided he would name the lorry we were renovating at the time "Kate". For a man who is not usually emotional, when I read this I weep everytime.

So here I am 17 years on. I spent 7 weeks in hospital. I have scarring across both legs. Sometimes people stare but I don't care...

Because I am lucky: I have no lasting damage, I can use all my limbs. I have no brain damage at all. That illness didn't get me. Those scars show what a little fighter I was aged 3. I healed every single piece of skin without plastic surgery. So I wear what I like: shorts and skirts in the summer. And when people ask or stare I explain, (Although my friend did start the rumour that I'd been attacked by a shark for a while!).

Some are not so lucky, but with early diagnosis deaths and disabilities can be prevented.
Symptoms include:
A rash that does not fade under pressure from a glass
Fever, with cold hands and feet
Drowsy and difficult to wake
Severe muscle pain
Severe headache
Dislike of bright lights
Confusion / irritability
Stiff Neck
Convulsions and seizures

For anymore information take a look on the Meningitis Now website. Acting quickly and knowing these signs could save someone's life!

Kate xx

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Sneak Peek into my Scrapbook 3

The paints are out again and this week watercolours seemed to be shouting at me. So I thought back to those primary school days of wax resist techniques and tried to recreate it. First I wasn't pressing hard enough with the white wax crayon so the wax resist is very faint in the first page. Therefore I decided to jazz up the page with some printing and a little red biro doodling. The second attempt was a lot more distinct and I was happy with the colour contrast with the deep purple. I can't decide whether I want to leave it nice and simple or stand working into that page. And then a stylised purple flower to finish.

What sort of creative loveliness have you been up to this week?
Kate xx

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Snow Musings

Recently I've been taking more time out of the day and just writing. Sitting down and letting the words tumble out of me. Whilst the weather back at the beginning of the month was being less than pleasant, I curled myself up, peered out of the window and the result is this little passage:

It started in the afternoon. From out of the window a snowflake caught my eye and suddenly a flurry started. There was no warning to its beginnings, but once the first flake had fallen the symptoms came suddenly. The sky turned a white-grey tone and the flakes were blending in as they fell. Until they fell quite obviously, freckling every surface. They then blend back into anonymity as the blanket forms. No single flake can take responsibility, but all together they have changed the look of the world. As darkness falls I am still gazing out of the window into a blue hued world. A dusting of icing sugar punctuated only by the warm orange car headlights infrequently making their slow progress.

It reminds me of a quote I once read

"A single raindrop never felt responsible for the flood"

Kate xx