Thursday, 3 December 2009

It's a Good Life {just not at the moment!}

The title I chose for my layout take on this sketch challenge was "Scrap Addict - It's a Good Life" . This is the last of my Cocoa Daisy Fall Crop Layouts. As you can see the sketch is oh so simple, but brilliant in that it can be translated in so many ways.

As it was my last layout for the weekend I decided just to relax & have fun & do a layout celebrating having my blog for just over a year now. I had a couple of photos so used them both. I took the photo of my Followers gadget several months ago when I deleted it. I decided it wasn't representative of my blog as I had several commenters who weren't on it & several on it who hardly commented.

I just let go & used all the papers that appealled to me at the moment - Lily Bee{French Couture} - Graphic 45, Pink Paislee, K & Co & Basic Grey {Lemonade}.

I can't remember the chipboard alpha manufacturer but the tiny alphas are Making Memories {"EST SEPT 2009"}.

The die-cut banner "It's a Good Life",flower & heart are October Afternoon, all raised on foam squares.

Flowers from Prima & Making Memories, brads from Basic Grey {Lemonade}, S.E.I and K & Co.

I inked a bit with lime green, orange & pink.

I enjoyed expanding on the sketch down the right-hand side - layering the papers, punching & tearing.

Now for some real life news. I have tonsillitis. The last couple of days have been pretty bad but now that I have got some antibiotics & they have kicked in I am feeling a whole heap better. I have been thinking back on this year & my choice of word for it "Yes!" & how it really hasn't turned out how I had hoped. I am going to choose my word more carefully for 2010 & go for something more attainable! "Yes!" was a silly choice because there have been lots of "no's" this year that have been out of my control. Despite it all I am still here & have 4 healthy kids & a faithful husband. As basic as that sounds I'm content with that, especially after the recent scandal regarding our fallen rugby hero, Joost Van der Westhuisen & now Tiger Woods, both married to beautiful women {makes you wonder what the point of striving for that ideal is} & living double lives.

Last week Mercy, my household helper, announced that she was HIV positive. She has been unwell for the last couple of months but I never considered that this could be the reason, because her husband died in 1993 & she has been single ever since. She decided to ask the clinic to test her. This has put a real dampener on my hopes for a better 2010. Mercy is an integral part of our lives & makes up for the disadvantages of living in Africa. I do not relish the thought of trying out new household help & all the time & headaches that I know from past experience are associated with it.

I have made a lot of enquiries & sent her off to the Aids Centre here for a quicker turnaround on her CD4 count. The clinic told her to come back in 2 weeks but for R80 {USD$10} she can get her results back in 3 days. They are due on Friday & I don't know what to wish for. If she is over 200 she is HIV+ but doesn't have full-blown AIDS, yet is therefore not eligible for free ARVs. If her count is below 200 she gets free anti-retrovirals, but this also means that her immune system is already at a very low ebb.

Initially I just felt disbelief & couldn't understand how this could be happening to her & us. Within 24 hours I had accepted the inevitable & felt a sense of urgency to solve the problem. I made a few phonecalls & gave myself a basic crash course on the subject. Now, some days on, I am just annoyed, as strange as that sounds, that yet again I have another problem to deal with brought on by someone else's stupidity - perhaps not Mercy's, but her husband's. This is the story of our lives here in Africa - my generation is left to clean up the mess created by our ancestor's short-sightedness & the indiginous people's lack of regard for their lives & those of their loved ones.

Apparently with ARV's there is no reason why, with correct diet & lifestyle changes, HIV+ people can't live normal lives with a normal life expectancy. Call me a cynic but it just sounds too good to be true...


Stefanie said...

I am so guilty of reading your posts and not always commenting, yet am saddened when I have 2 comments per posts too.
Sorry to hear about Mercy...she must be going through a really torrid time too.
Africa has it's pro's and con's doesn't it?
Also hope you'll be back to 100% very soon.

tania said...

so sorry about mercy, helen,hope all turns out for the best and for you, hope you are well sooon!! deposited my kit money today, sorry, bit late, but the banks are HECTIC!!
LOVE your layout, we are all on there, wow!!
Great one!!

The Lonely Scrapbooker said...

Wow that's heavy. She CAN live normally if she does the "right things" so don't be so skeptical! It's for her to actually DO them that is tough.

Bernadine said...

Hi Helen. Hope you feel better soon. I am now on cortisone - voice slowly getting their - one of the girls I work said I must stop talking so I can get my voice back completely - so I said to her can I go off and come back week after next. lol. Her response was NO.

I feel for you with Mercy - we have lost two guys that we know of from HIV and one who is up and down.

It is so hard as you don't want to get rid of them but in the same token for us you can't keep on paying their provident fund benefits indefinatly and neither can you stop contributing as if anything happens they will not have the benefits.

Lynette said...

What gets me is that the HIV+ people's CD4 count must be so low that they are nearly at death's door before they receive the ARV's. Why can't they just start giving it to them early and give them a better quality life? Arrggg! That is one of the things that frustrate me no end in our ministry...all the red tape. I feel for Mercy and for your family.

BTW...great layout to celebrate your blogging.

Shayne said...

So sorry to hear about Mercy - i echo what Lynette said. Wish SA would just get it's health system sorted.

Great LO - super take on the sketch.

Hope you get better soon, tonsillitis is YUCKY!

Pencil Lines DT Co-Ordinator said...

Hi Helen
Sorry its taken me a few days to get back to you on a shipping price for the book, i have no idea where the days go!!
Visit the site at where there is a link and details on international shipping :) email me if you have any problems
Anna x

topkatnz said...

Oh Helen, I feel so badly for Mercy and yourself over this - I know how much she means to you all. Hugs and best wishes for you both. :(

teacher jessy said...

Firstly, I love the idea of scrapping ur blog! The sketch is great but ur layout is awesome, love the colors especially!! I should scrap my blog too :) I sm so sorry to hear that u r going thru a rough patch at this moment. I do hope & pray that you'll have great days ahead.

mariam said...

oh dear. praying for you dear Helen. hugs

Helen Tilbury said...

Thanks everyone! Mercy spent most of the day at the hospital today getting her CD4 results & all her medication. Her CD4 count is already a low 90 & she is only due to start the ARVs on 14th January - so not only is she positive but she has full-blown AIDS. All we can do is take it one step at a time & just accept that, at least until the ARV's kick in, things are not going to be 100% spic + span & perfect around here. I spent the day doing her housework & I don't envy her the job I tell you ;-D I suppose at least it is over the holiday season that she is starting the preparation drugs then getting accustomed to the ARVs as apparently that is the worst time. She has some drugs to prepare her system for the ARVs for 6 weeks which she was told were essential & that it was not possible to start the ARVs immediately. I am taking Chelsea to the doc on Monday re: another issue so I am going to confirm with him then to just check that what they are telling her is correct. We are paying for her to have her duaghter visit from another province & stay with us for as long as she likes or needs (she's 23 & single & unemployed) then she can help Mercy if need be. It's just life - I am doing everything possible that is within my control & I know that whatever happens we'll be able to make another plan if necessary. Living with us as Mercy does will definitely guarantee her the best chance of survival & she is very "healthy" & clean-living so will have as good a chance as any.