A challenging start to the year

I had hoped to be more active here on this blog than I have been so far in 2023, but this year hasn’t got off to the greatest of starts.

Strap yourself in; it’s going to be a long one!

I’ve been unwell

In November 2022 I caught the ‘vid for the first time. I was ill for a week or so and seemed to make a pretty speedy recovery.

Then in January I started to feel unwell again; full of cold and a sore throat. I did some lateral flow tests which came back negative, so I assumed I had just caught a cold.

Roll on March and I was still suffering with a cold and a cough. I’d woken up every single day since the start of January with a blocked nose, and my coughing was so bad that it was preventing me from sleeping. I was exhausted.

I’d never normally go to the doctors with a cold but I felt like after 2 months of being unwell I needed to get checked out.

I managed to get an appointment with a paramedic at my doctor’s surgery (weird?) who thought I might be suffering with long Covid. They didn’t give me any medication but they sent me for a blood test to rule out anything else.

So I had a blood test and I was really proud of myself for getting through the appointment by myself without any issues (I have a fear of needles). The only issue these tests flagged up was that my vitamin D levels were low. This is completely unsurprising given that this has felt like the longest winter ever in the UK and I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun. Anyway, I started taking vitamin D supplements to top-up my levels.

A few weeks later I got asked to go for another blood test just to see if anything had changed since my last test. I felt completely chilled going in given that my previous blood test was so easy. But this time things didn’t go so smoothly.

It took the poor junior doctor three attempts to get blood from me. I put on a brave face and said it was ok despite the fact I was in pain and starting to panic on the inside. I noticed that I was feeling really light headed and it felt like my ears were blocked.

Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from feeling light headed in the past it’s this; tell someone. Don’t just pretend it’s all ok because you’ll try to stand up and instead you’ll hit the ground like a sack of potatoes.

Believe me, I did this in hospital when I was about 10 and I went down hard, face first.

So, I told the doctor that I felt like I was going to pass out and they were really helpful and reassuring. It took about 10 minutes for me to feel normal again, and I felt much better once I got some fresh air. But overall it was a horrible experience and I’m dreading the next time I have to get a blood test.

Anyway, a week after this test I was still feeling like death so I booked another appointment to speak to a doctor. And this time I actually spoke to a doctor.

The doctor seemed to think I have sinusitis, but he also wanted to rule out a chest infection. He prescribed me a nasal spray and a throat spray to try, and sent me for a chest x-ray.

It’s been just over a week since this appointment and the nasal spray is making a world of difference. I can finally breathe through my nose for the first time in 3 months! My cough is still bad though, and I haven’t got the results back from my chest x-ray yet. Hopefully I’ll hear something about this soon.

My holiday was a disaster

After being ill for three months I was in dire need of a holiday. Fortunately I had a trip to Disneyland Paris booked for the end of March.

I was so excited for this trip. It was going to be Tyrone’s first time in Disneyland Paris, and I was ready to get on some rollercoasters again.

Everything was going smoothly up until the point when we got to the gate at the airport and Tyrone was told me couldn’t fly. His passport was out of date. Well, according to the EU it was out of date. It was actually valid until August this year, but apparently you can use a passport to travel to EU countries if the passport is over 10 years old. I had literally no idea this was a rule that had been introduced in recent years, and judging by the reaction of everyone else in the queue for the flight, I wasn’t the only one.

So that was that. There was no way we would be able to get another passport in time and the airline was zero help, so we had to cancel everything. However, because we had to cancel things so last minute (the hotel, the park tickets, the transfers and the airport parking), we couldn’t get our money back.

I spent the next few days crying and trying desperately to recover as much money as I could. Luckily I had booked the majority of the trip on my credit card, and they were quick to give me my money back. I’ve made a claim on my travel insurance for the remainder, but I haven’t heard anything back from them yet.

We have rebooked the trip for September this year, but since I booked the original trip last year the prices for hotels have skyrocketed, we decided to go for a cheaper, off-site hotel instead of an official Disney one. I’m gutted because it was a dream of mine to stay at Newport Bay Club, but I just couldn’t justify the prices. An off-site hotel cost a quarter of the price, and it includes breakfast which the Disney hotels don’t.

Work has been quieter than usual

I feel apprehensive about saying this out loud but 2023 has been a slow year so far work wise.

I’ve had less enquiries than usual, and the enquiries that I have had haven’t gone anyway. I’ve also had a couple of cancelations and some clients going completely AWOL.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. The current economic situation is awful and nobody knows what is around the corner. I fully understand that. But it’s still an unsettling time for business owners and freelancers.

I know I should embrace this quiet period. Between January 2020 and December 2022 work was non-stop for me and I was burnt-out. This is the break I’ve been craving, but I just can’t stop wondering where my next client will come from.

Despite all the negatives, there have been some positive moments, and I do have a lot to look forward to this year. I don’t want to completely write-off this year just yet as I know it’s far from being over; it’s just been a bit of a rough start.

But I hope that goes some way to explain why I’ve not been as active on here as I would have like to have been.

Onwards and upwards.


  1. […] in April I shared a post titled “A challenging start to the year” and in this post I talked about how I had been unwell for the whole year so […]

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