CLOSING THE PAIN GATE

by Jeanne Hambleton © 2007

While we women are said to be multi functional and can do several jobs at once, I do believe that as a fibromite, if you can occupy your brain with something you enjoy or are interested in, you can stem the aches and pains for a while at least.

In medical circles it is said if you close the pain gate and get into visualisation or meditation you can ‘forget’ your pains and be free of fibromyalgia for a little while.

I believe most of you will know how to meditate -relax somewhere warm and comfortable and think about the good things in your life, happy memories and all that- and the same with visualisation, the same setting but think about colours and with your eyes closed watch the red colour for pain change to sunshine yellow with fields of buttercups, gentle warm waves lapping around your toes… oooh I have come over all sleepy. It is really quite easy- just go with the flow. I must just say this is my interpretation of visualisation and meditation. But you do need somewhere quiet to achieve any success with this.

With him indoors wanting lunch, or the children arriving home from school making enough noise for a herd of elephant’s, it may be that this kind of relaxation is not possible. What is the alternative – keep your fingers busy.

A friend of mine has just handmade a lovely apron for herself. It is too nice to even get dirty. Did your grandma have an apron? Mine did, so did my Mother. She loved to sew and her pride and joy was a Singer sewing machine in a lovely walnut wooden cabinet. I was allowed to polish and dust it and as I grew older I was taught how to use the sewing machine (non electric) although my feet hardly reached the pedals. Since then I have moved on to an all singing all dancing zigzag button holing machine that threads itself (thank heavens) and which mystifies me but I have made nursery curtains with it. Since those early days I have never been without a sewing machine.

One of my first achievements was making an apron from a piece of bright gaudy fabric my Mother had tucked away somewhere. It had a red and green pattern, with a plain red band and tie strings and two large red pockets which held the pegs when hanging out washing, peas and runner beans picked from the garden and eggs from the chickens- the garden was the size of a pocket handkerchief but every inch was utilised by my Dad.

I wore an apron as child to keep my clothes clean and even into marriage and motherhood I liked keeping my clothes free from grease spots in the kitchen and continued my love affair with aprons – fun and otherwise.

Today I wonder if children even know what an apron is unless their husband is a chef and they have to iron their whites – like my daughter-in-law does. Even less children will know what a pinafore was. Unlike the apron, which covered from the waist down and tied at the back, the pinafore covered most of the front of the dress and wrapped around the back laving only the sleeves of the dress without protection. Originally these were plain white and were pinned on. Later they had frills and trimmings added.

But as the story goes it is said that although the principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, it had many uses. It served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and it has been known as useful aid for cleaning out dirty ears.

But its uses did not end there. It was used to carry eggs from the chicken house, warm young chicks, occasionally carried eggs, which were half-hatched to a warm place.

When visitors arrived, shy children would hide behind their grandma’s apron and in cold weather the apron kept the wearer’s arms warm. These wonderful old aprons were used to mop hot faces while slaving over the hot wood stove; to bring wood into the house for the fire from the yard; carry vegetables from the garden as well as apples fallen from the tree ready for an apple pie.

Seeing a spec of dust on the sideboard, the apron would be used to make it sparkling clean and when it was dinner time grandma would waive her apron on the front porch to call grandpa from the field and tell him his food was on the table.

It will be a long time before something a useful as the apron comes into fashion again. My grandma used wore a large black wrap around apron showing just an inch or two of her black skirt, black stockings and shoes with buttons. With her iron grey hair back in a tiny bun and a heavy black woolen shawl, I now realize my tiny grandma was still in mourning her husband who had died some years before I was born. The only time I saw her out of black was when she was in bed ill in a crisp white cotton long sleeved nightdress.

My mother often recalled grandma’s words when I was born. She said, “When the children when small they will pull your apron strings, but when they are tall they will pull your heart strings.”

What a true saying. I frequently found my apron round my ankles when I was up to my elbows in wet washing, after some naughty little boy thought it was fun to pull my apron strings. And yes they do pull your heart strings.

How times change. I remember my grandma was not a fun grandma who rolled about the floor with her grandchildren or played football and scored goals – as I do with my 19-month-old grandson. We dance to Cbeebies, sing, play games – but I am not a grandma – I am a Nanna – maybe that is the difference.

I wonder will someone invent something that will replace that “old-time apron” that served so many purposes. It is perhaps sad to remember that Grandma wearing her beloved apron, used to set her hot baked apple pies on the windowsill to cool; her granddaughters set theirs on the windowsill to thaw! Is the world a better place or am I just being sentimental?

We have not done with this pain gate subject – I hope to be bringing you some more ideas to occupy your mind.

After thought: I try hard to make sense and not miss words out and the spellchecker does it’s job – but none of this compensates for bursts of fibro fog. So rather belatedly I apologise for any errors. My fibro fingers have a mind of their own and are often very mischievous typing a load of rubbish – well sometimes they are mischievous most of the time. Please bear with me – until they find a cure. Might be a long wait. If I was dishonest I would give prizes for the deliberate mistakes – but I am not dishonest. Remember WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get! That’s me.

Will talk again soon. Jeanne

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About FMS Global News

Folllowing Rick Usher's death in December 2008, at his request in September of that year, I had agreed, as his principal contributor and an experienced journalist, to run the FMS Global News service due to his heavy commitments to music and raising research funds through this avenue. Following his sad and sudden death I hope to continue his work as he would have wished.
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