Now is the winter of my discontent

The winter of 2014-25 for me will be known as the 'lost winter' as it has passed in a sort of surreal blur where I viewed the world out of my conservatory window whilst lying on the sofa watching repeats of 'Columbo' and going through vast quantities of kitchen roll. Kitchen roll because what I was coughing up was so thick and disgusting that normal tissue just didn't cut it.

There's a couple of times in my life when I've been 'really' ill. I've been injured a couple of times too, but at least then I was just in pain. And I knew with the injuries, it would end. But this time, I was close to tidying my affairs: we really did reach that point.

Pneumonia sucks. No other description for it. Coughing up blood. Coughing up phlegm. Long strings of phlegm - all colours of the rainbow - toilet bowl full of the vilest things known to humanity in the middle of the night. Jay 'joked' it looked like a tapeworm. Unable to sleep. Frothing in your lungs. Unable to breathe day and night. Couldn't take two steps without over-dosing on my inhaler. All this for months on end. Started in the autumn, went on until the end of Feb.

Christmas 2014 was awful. Thank God for Cup-a-Soup as I couldn't even eat. Couldn't even stand up. I tried to get up from a TV dinner on Boxing Day and ended up dropping the whole lot down my front, before collapsing on the floor.

There were times when I thought it was going, and we'd go out. Like on New Year's Eve. Or Christmas shopping with the kids. My boyfriend Jason was playing a gig somewhere with his mates around Great Yarmouth, and sometimes I'd go with him. Just for the symptoms to come back threefold the next day and wipe me out for another week.

In the midst of all this my maternal grandmother passed away and I couldn't even be there for my Dad.

Well, diabetes and pneumonia has nearly finished me. I know that. Three courses of anti-biotics and steroids made no difference. Didn't even touch it. Doctor told me I'd 'just have to see' if it went. It was bacterial pneumonia. Nothing else they could give me. And I'd even been vaccinated against it. (But that didn't matter, because apparently there are 'so many' different types of pneumonia that the supposed vaccine only protects against one strain ffs.)

I have to be honest; Jay probably saved my life by looking up every single natural remedy that's ever been recommended, and ordering expensive herbs via next day delivery from Amazon. I was eating smashed up raw garlic and root of lemongrass. I was drinking a disgusting concoction of ACV with Indian spices and honey. Raw ginger took the symptoms away, but it was harsh on my stomach and made me vomit.

And then one day in mid February, I slept for five hours in a stretch without waking up coughing or vomiting. And I woke up the next morning and knew the pneumonia had gone.

Well. It's aged me. My friend Sher and I have this 'joke' about various footy managers who need to get some 'Just for Men' (mostly Jose Mourinho) - and now here's me - enjoying the after effects of pneumonia that nearly killed me. We were off to the petrol garage near Acle on Sunday morning and I convinced Jay he actually really did want to pull up at the local, derelict, abandoned public house so I could get a shot of it. For once there were no gangs of 'Benefits Britain' wannabes guzzling White Lightning out the front and using it as a skatepark. And I saw myself in the sunlight of the wing mirror as I got out of the car and was horrified to see I'd gone grey. If the steroids did anything, they made my hair grow long very rapidly, so here I am with long strands of silver knowing it's me that needs the flipping dye now.

I can hardly walk still and I need a new glasses prescription. As for laryngitis - I thought that was just something Jay had had for a few days last year due to his 'singing' (shouting) style that he likes to put on rather than actually sing properly. But GP said I had vomited so much, that stomach acid had burnt my throat and left me with chronic laryngitis.

So that's why I can't speak either. So, I'll just write this. And take some pics now I'm up and about again. And know I was lucky to have survived pneumonia.