The uncertain nature of ‘the future’.

To everyone who may have any interest in this blog still. You may have noticed it’s gone quiet. I’ll admit it has lost its original purpose, which was (once upon a time) to store my reflections while studying occupational therapy. I graduated three years ago (WOW), and since then, I’ve gone in a different direction.

I now work in IT for an online education company, and I don’t actually know where I’m headed from here. The older I get, the more I realise that I still don’t know exactly who I am and where I belong. Also, life doesn’t go as planned. At the age of 16, I thought I was going to become an OT. Then I graduated and had no clue what I was going to do, falling into first a customer service desk job at M&S, then a technical support call centre for a small software company. I didn’t intend to go into IT. I never thought for a second when I was younger that that’s where I’d end up.

I want to actually take this site down or make it private, as I’m not sure what to do with it now. However, I still get quite a lot of hits to it from Google searches; it seems my OT resources are quite popular, and I don’t want to deprive students of anything that could help them understand MOHO better.

So I’ll leave my site up for you students out there who like my diagrams and explanations, at least until I think of a better place to put them where you can find them. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a use for this blog down the line? Or maybe any followers I might still have from Ye Olden Times might have some ideas on how I can breathe life into this place again? Do you want to read about the life of an almost-24-year-old who is realising she has no idea what’s going on?

My newfound love affair with Cetirizine.

As some of you may have already gleaned, I’ve developed a rare allergy called cold urticaria, which is an allergy to cold. My reaction to even the slightest of cool breezes is to develop an irritatingly itchy, blotchy red rash. The Oxford winter has left me with swollen fingers, hot ears and a numb nose from just the five-minute walk between my office and my car. I even had to ask HR to buy me a heater because I just could not concentrate while my feet (in two pairs of socks–one thermal–and leather boots) were cold and maddeningly itchy.

Back in November, I saw my GP, who wrote to the local dermatology department at one of Oxford’s many hospitals. An appointment was made for me (two months later–thanks, NHS), which happened to be a couple of weeks ago. I was seen by a very sympathetic and kind doctor, who had luckily seen this allergy once before. After undergoing the expected ice cube (or in this case, ice pack) test, being examined by a curious med student and having far too many vials of blood taken, I was given a prescription for a couple of antihistamines to try.

I was sceptical, since I’d already tried over-the-counter and two other prescribed antihistamines, but lo and behold, the first drug I tried worked! Well, mostly worked. It didn’t take away all the symptoms, but it took away the worst one–the itching. I still get the numbness in my nose when I go outside, but I can handle that. The rashes were slowly driving me insane, and I am so, so grateful for that doctor and Cetirizine.

This will sound incredibly cheesy, but I guess my lesson learned here was to have hope and keep trying different medications until I found one that worked. (My other lesson learned just this evening is to get the miracle pills on prescription, as Cetirizine is sold over-the-counter here as Piriteze…which is £3 for just 7 tablets, as opposed to the prescription charge of £8.05 for 60 tablets. Given that I’m taking two a day, that’s a no-brainer.)

Towels, chopping boards and other things I’m using wrong.

I read a BuzzFeed article the other day on how often you should wash your towels. Read it here. Apparently, you’re supposed to wash your towels after three uses. Just three. And any cloths that get completely soaked? After every use.

Before reading this article, I thought I had a really good system going. I do 2-3 loads of clothes every weekend (whites, colours, darks). On top of that, I alternate between bedding and towels, doing two towel loads every other weekend (including dish towels, cleaning rags, etc.). If I were to take said advice, I would have to have 15 towels to keep me, my hair and my boyfriend in drying business for the two weeks. Ain’t nobody got space for that! (And by that, I mean I don’t have space to store 15+ towels in my house unless I want to sacrifice a bookshelf or something.)

Now I know you’ll say I could just wash towels more frequently. The boyfriend and I are both busy IT professionals who probably work longer than we should. Neither of us has time to be washing towels every three days and all the other frankly OTT recommendations of our modern world.

And I mean that. These kinds of articles are popping up everywhere, joining all the other advice on how to avoid bacteria at all costs. This is scaremongering. When was the last time someone died because they didn’t wash their towel for a month, or even a few? I was perfectly healthy in my first year of university, where I avoided doing too much laundry because it involved lugging a bag/suitcase/basket outside to the designated laundry room. This room was small and had maybe five machines that had to be shared by hundreds of first-year students. There was no way I was going to go all that way and pay a pound every three days just to spare myself from coming in contact with bacteria.

It’s like the advice to have separate chopping boards for meat and vegetables. I’m sure there are those of you out there who are a stickler for this protocol, but I can assure you that I am still alive despite using the same boards for both. Gasp!

I also grew up licking the spoon when baking, and not once did I get salmonella, but the way the media goes on about it you’d think it was inevitable. I ran around outside, made mud pies, broke both arms and played with farm animals. I’m 23 and still here!

The fact is, bacteria is everywhere, including all over and inside your body. I am in the camp that believes that people have survived quite well without all this overprotection. I’m not saying to not wash your hands or use the same knife over and over without washing it, but I am suggesting that you use your common sense and not go overboard by taking every link-bait suggestion out there. Your immune system will thank you for giving it some exercise. 😉