Blood of Man – Hypericum perforatum – St John’s wort

Hypericum perforatum, also known as perforate St John’s wort, is in many countries classified as a noxious weed. It surprises me! A noxious weed, now that sounds unpleasant and prickly, perhaps even painful. It certainly doesn’t sound like a beautiful flowering herb with well known medicinal properties! But that is just what it is.

In Swedish we know the herb as Johannesört, or as I recently learned, mannablod – an old name meaning ‘blood of man’. It grows in my garden on a sunny south-facing slope, not planted and by design but as a part of the wild and natural flora. In fact, it is not until recently that I have been entirely certain of it being the genuine Johannesört, as there are other varieties which look very, very similar. One in particular is common around here, called ‘square’ Johannesört. And with recently, I actually mean yesterday, as it wasn’t until then that I was entirely certain.

How do I know then?

The first clue is in the latin name – perforatum. If you pick a leaf of the genuine kind and hold it up against the light, you will see what looks like tiny pin prick holes through it. The other one doesn’t have this. The second clue is in the Swedish name of the variety – the ‘square’. It refers to the shape of the stem; the genuine Johannesört has two ridges, while the other one has four – giving a cross-section that looks (and feels) square.

Yesterday as I and the husband took a long walk around the area I took the time to properly look at the herbs we encountered, and interestingly it seems as though the genuine kind, the perforate St John’s herb, is rather rare while the square variety grows in abundance in the area. Which makes me properly motivated to care for the ones growing on our little plot of land!

Now why is this herb interesting in the first place? Oh, there are several reasons.

For starters it is, as I already mentioned, a well known medicinal plant with proven effect on treating depression. Helping a person to relax, it’s also used as a sleeping aid. It has also – in Sweden at least – traditionally been used to give flavour to brännvin, ‘schnaps’ (giving the very alcoholic drink a neat little anti-depressant side effect, yes!).

Now, before I go on, I need to mention that this is not a medicinal plant that you should ingest without proper research. Most importantly it may have a direct adverse effect in combination with other medicines, to the degree where it’s completely un-advisable if you are already on other medication. And that includes birth control pills, which the St John’s wort may screw up. Oh, and if you are bipolar you should also avoid it, as it may give an increased risk of mania. So, be careful. It is medicine, not to be taken lightly.

What else?

Magic. Oh yes. There is a long, long tradition of using this herb for things unacceptable for modern science. For one thing it’s been considered to have powerful protective abilities, and has been long used to ward off evil spirits.

There is much more to learn, but I am going to stop here for now. If you are curious I urge you to google ‘perforate St John’s wort’ or ‘Hypericum perforatum’, and see what you can find. And again, be careful with how you use this herb. It is useful and powerful, but not inherently safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ouchies

You know I was all happy and optimistic in the last post, The Morning After? Not so fun times since then I’m afraid, yesterday the nausea had me going from work early and today the pain just kept growing so finally I ended up with an emergency visit to the hospital. Because nothing can work just as it’s supposed to, right?

They’ve stung me with needles and drawn blood, pushed and prodded my hurting tummy until I almost cried, and checked my insides with ultrasound. Seems like one of my ovaries are acting up, it’s all swollen and hurting, but according to the blood tests it doesn’t look TOO bad so after five hours I was sent home with painkillers that made me all woozy and orders to come back for further tests in the morning.

Right now the painkillers are taking the edge off the pain but it still hurts like hell as soon as I move about, so I walk slowly and carefully like a little old lady and have a hard time standing up straight. Fingers crossed the tests look good in the morning and the pain doesn’t keep growing!

Lastly I just want to say that I have the best husband. He was so, so sweet as he joined me at the hospital, skipping work to let me doze off with my head on his lap (drugs yo) and he didn’t even complain when he had to skip work to drive me home afterwards. Sweet, sweet husband is the best.

 

p.s.

I’m not even going to apologize for the horribly poor writing in this post, my head is still woozy so shush!

The Morning After

So far so good, the procedure yesterday went well! I got enough morphine to be comfortable so the dreaded pain wasn’t so bad at all, doctors and nurses were awesome and great at making us feel welcome, and a grand total of sixteen eggs were sucked out of me. So yay!

Once home the day turned less pleasant, when the meds wore off I was left with a horribly sore tummy and what’s worse – horrible nausea that stayed with me aaaaaaaall day. Not sure if that was due to yesterday’s procedure, or is a side effect of the hormone treatment that lead up to it.It was unpleasant either way and I hope today will be better!

Now we wait to see how it all went. Friday is the big day so I will likely be updating you then on any news. Until then I am going to try and stifle the nausea, forget the soreness, keep writing, keep working, and hope for the best.

I feel hopeful!

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The Morning After, a beautiful new day

 

 

 

Let’s get personal for a moment

Very personal, even.

In half an hour I am heading for the hospital along with the husband. There I am going to be put into fancy hospital clothes, they will put a needle in my arm and will give me sedatives and morphine.

Then they will stick a big ass needle through my lady parts and try to suck all the eggs out.

Ouch.

I am both excited and terrified at the same time. This is it, this is finally it. I’ve been on hormone treatment for almost three weeks now and finally they’ve now decided that it’s time. Needle time.

Once they have sucked all the tiny eggs out of me the lab will work their magic, putting them together with the husband’s even tinier swimmers to see what happens.

If all goes well the start of a new life will be put back inside me in a few days.

 

 

Wish us luck, friends. It’s an important week!

Surrogacy in Sweden, a frustrated comment

nudepregsketch

News just in, Sweden will not allow surrogacy as an option for childless couples. The reasoning is that there is always a slight risk of the surrogacy not being entirely voluntary, and the woman’s right to decide over her own body should be absolute, no woman should risk being pressured into carrying another couple’s child. Even if monetary compensation is forbidden, if there is thorough investigation of the involved parties motives, and if there is a demand for close personal relationship between parents and surrogate (such as if the surrogate mother is a family member), they say that we can never be certain of it being entirely voluntarily done, and thus is shall be forbidden.

 

I don’t often post comments on current news here in the blog, but this I just have to say.

ARE YOU NUTS? IN ORDER TO SAFEGUARD THE WOMAN’S RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO HER BODY, YOU TAKE AWAY HER RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO HER BODY?

 

 

Link to news article, in Swedish!

 

 

Angry, raging, I’M FURIOUS!

I am facing a challenge I never, ever thought I’d have to deal with. Anger. Rage, even.

Throughout life I’ve always been the calm one. Back at school when I was a kid, you know why I wasn’t actively picked on? There was no fun in teasing me. They couldn’t make me angry. I was that girl with the fuse so long that few had ever seen her go off in an actual fit of rage.

Apart from mom, of course. But what kid doesn’t at times fight with its parent? Mom saw angry me, but no one else. And that anger passed quickly, anyway. Of course my mother is still capable of making my blood boil but it is still… loving. Dad-in-law also have a tendency of making me angry (are you reading this, dad-in-law?) but it’s the same there, it’s still family, it’s still to a backdrop of love and care.

These past few weeks, months even, my mood has gotten worse than ever. I’m not talking moodswings, I’m talking anger. The diplomatic Fny has gone away and been replaced by the Fny that wants to bring out the shotgun when people say stupid things.

The one issue, that it all stems from, is also the one that upsets me the most. I am angry, no FURIOUS, at the fertility clinic for letting us wait, and wait, and wait. I am angry for the way we’ve been treated, I am angry for the lack of communication, and most of all I am angry at their insinuations that I would be a bad parent because of my previous depressions. As long as they keep us waiting, not even having the decency of giving us a straight answer, my anger is just growing. It has reached the point where it hurts, it physically hurts inside my chest, and I am experiencing an aggressive side of myself that I didn’t really think I had.

Fuck whoever gets between me and my child. Even if the child doesn’t exist yet.

I didn’t decide to write this in order to complain about our situation, though. I am writing this to marvel at this new, terrible challenge I find myself facing.

How the hell do I handle prolonged anger? I was always so calm, I barely ever got mad and when I did it was for a short while only, so I have never before needed to handle my own anger.

Even telling myself that I need to let it go and calm down has my inner beast snapping and snarling. “All will be well if those BASTARDS just stop treating us like crap and give us the treatment we are entitled to!” angry me yells. Angry me doesn’t want to let go of the anger either, because that somehow feels like accepting the situation. And this is one situation I do not want to accept! This is needless pain, needless waiting, they are putting us through, and why should I accept that?!

Well no. I shouldn’t accept that. But I do need to manage letting go of the anger somehow. Because this hurts. It hurts when I wake up, it hurts when I’m on the bus and my mind wanders, it hurts when I’m trying to sleep. And the longer this takes… Well, it has already been going on for many months. It looks as though the fertility clinic will drag it out even longer too, if they ever do decide on helping us it’ll probably not be until next year. Or who knows, maybe the year after, all they need to is keep ignoring us. And I can’t stay angry that long. Even though I am entitled to be angry at the way they are treating us, I know it’s not really healthy, and in the end will do me no good. It probably doesn’t make me too pleasant to be around either, when the mood really hits.

So… there you have it. I don’t want to say “anger management” because that only makes me think of Charlie Sheen, and by the Gods this issue is a new one to me. What on earth do I do?

Now if you’ll excuse me… I am going to let out some steam by killing zombies in a video game.