Hand Surgery Update - You're A Wizard Harry!

Hello everyone!
I thought I would check in with you all as its two weeks today since I had the surgery on my hand to fix my damaged tendon. I've actually been getting on better than I first imagined I would, its been sore but the pain has been bearable and my finger that was effected now moves again. I have been doing my physiotherapy both at home and at the hospital and I have been returning to the hospital every week for a check up and therapy. 
Yesterday I had my stitches out which was pretty painful and I'm gutted because so many people told me it didn't hurt so now I feel like even more of a wuss, but they're out and the wound is looking good. So good in fact, I now have a lightning shaped scar to document my trauma. This takes my Harry Potter fandom to a whole new level ha!

I've been watching way too much Netflix, mainly Once Upon a Time and Ab Fab. I watched all of Once Upon a Time last year and thought since I was off sick and will be for a while, I would start again ready and refreshed for the new season. I'm loving it more than ever and forgot how much I loved Jefferson's character who is the Mad Hatter. It sucks he's not in it more because he is one of my favourites, but my all time fave has to be Regina. Love that woman!
I've also been making cards…with one hand. The cherry design is one I made when I was camping back in June and was waiting to be coloured and made into greeting cards. The other two I've managed to make with no actual drawing involved so that was a bonus. These three newbies are now in my Etsy shop and I'm hoping to do some more designs using similar techniques.

As for YouTube, I'm really missing making videos but don't want to push myself too much. I know that sounds silly because really all I have to do is sit there and talk, but I get ever so paranoid when I'm off sick with an injury that people will think I'm blagging it. Can't just be me who thinks this…let me know if you experience similar anxiety in the comments!
I had to nip into town last Friday with James to get to the bank for various bits and pieces and I felt so suspicious and awkward because I'm signed off sick. I know I can't be expected to just be shutting down to life at home, but I still feel very anxious when I go out and about.

I've also been getting around to reading loads of other blogs and keeping an eye out for new opportunities - watch this space! Exciting times ahead...

As always thanks for reading,

Ellis x

My University Experience

I went to De Montfort University in Leicester with the intentions of completing a degree at Nottingham Trent after I finished the foundation course at Leicester. I was willing to stay at DMU if I liked it and if I became settled to move onto the degree but unfortunately that never happened. The foundation course was something that had to be done to ween you onto the degree - I'm not sure if its the same now but it was standard to do this for art based subjects at the time and we're talking 2010-2012.

I had studied art, graphics and photography at A Level and came out with brilliant grades. University was never something I actually wanted to do, it was something that was expected of me by both my family and tutors. I applied for 3 universities and went to an interview at DMU (I didn't bother with the rest!) and even then I wasn't fussed whether I got in or not. Obviously I did so I followed the crowd and enrolled in September 2010. As soon as I arrived on campus I despised it. I hated the freshers week and the promotion of drinking heavily and joining all of the different clubs made me feel so uncomfortable. I tried to show an interest but just couldn't seem to develop one and this continued to bring me down for the next few months.

Upon arriving at uni, we were put into what they called bays which were small boarded off areas of a huge room fitting quite tightly, ten desks and ten people. We were all put into alphabetical order to begin with and I was with mostly girls. The downside to this was they were all in halls together so they had had a few weeks to get to know one another and were talking as if they'd been friends for years. A couple of weeks after, we were all rearranged and sectioned off into categories based on which area we wanted to specialise in. These ranged from fine art to sculpture, fashion to photography and I went for graphics/illustration. These bays were much better as you were put with people of similar interests and there was more of a mix, gender wise. The space was still small, but we were encouraged to personalise it and make it our own. Each week we were expected to present our weeks worth of work to the bay and to the designated tutor and for me this was a complete nightmare for two reasons. I've never been confident with presenting anything and its only at my current job where I have become much better at talking in front of a group and also, my tutor hated me and the work I produced. Each week I dreaded it more than anything and I remember one of the lads from my group tried to cheer me up by suggesting to post a poo through my tutors letterbox. I don't think that ever went ahead.

There were also a few workshops we were told we had to attend and these were all pretty boring and not very hands on. There was not enough equipment for everyone to be working at once so a lot of the time was spent queuing to use machines or waiting until someone else had finished with a material or tool. I was still struggling to make any friends because I'll be honest, I was too anxious to approach people and people never showed an interest in me either. As time went on, I felt my self esteem sink lower than it had in my entire life and was experiencing the artists equivalent of writers block. Every piece of work I produced, I was told wasn't good enough and I was shown up in front of the other students in my bay.

As the end of the year drew closer, I knew I had some big decisions to make. Everyone else was planning their next steps onto the degree and meanwhile, I was planning an escape. I put very little effort into my final piece which just scraped as a pass mark and in my head knew I wasn't going to carry on with university. I told my parents when they eventually worked out I'd left it too late to apply to continue to the degree and although they were unhappy with my decision, they still respected it. On my last day, I walked out of there feeling terrified of the big wide working world but also the most relieved I've ever felt knowing I would never have to go back. I went home and burnt all of my work except for one piece and haven't regretted a single thing. 

University can sometimes be portrayed as the very thing that will land you your dream job, a portal almost to get you to where you want to be at the very end of education. This isn't always the case and whilst I have no problem with people loving university, it isn't all fun and games (as well as hard work don't get me wrong) that is often hammered into our heads. It's such a shame because uni doesn't even guarantee you a fantastic job at the end of it. I have friends who are working minimum wage jobs just to get by whilst applying for their ideal roles and not getting anywhere, even with the shiny degree on their CV. I won't lie, I have a decent job now but it has nothing to do with art. I've had countless rejection letters for design jobs and its pretty much down to a lack of degree. Hence why Pastel Elixir was born, determination to make it without the degree.

It's totally okay if you're going through university and don't feel its working for you. Don't be scared to consider your options. Its also okay if you don't even want to try it…I wish I had known this before I accepted my place at DMU. This isn't me being for or against uni…every one is different and things never work out the same for two different people. Follow your heart!

Thankyou for reading - let me know if you went to university and did it work out for you?

Broken Tendons & First Surgery

Warning: Graphic Content
So you may have spotted my grumbling tweets over on Twitter and tediously with one hand, I have decided to share with you whats been cracking off over the last couple of weeks.
Last Monday I was doing the washing up and rather unfortunately, ended up with a two and a half inch piece of glass in the top of my hand. James and my in laws scooted me off to Grantham A&E. Typically I was waiting for a good few hours before I was even x-rayed and another couple of hours later, I was seen by a doctor to have the glass removed. He was an arse, a complete and utter arse. I won't go into detail as some readers won't appreciate it if they're squeamish, but it was up there with one of my worst life experiences yet. 
The hospital sent me away after both James and I stating I couldn't move my fingers and I was left to sort myself out over the next few days. Two days after it happened, I went to my local walk in centre to have the dressings changed and the nurse who helped said my hand was too swollen and bruised to tell whether or not this was the reason I couldn't move my fingers. I returned to the walk in centre a further two days later and another nurse told me to return to A&E immediately because my hand just wasn't right.
I was examined again, this time much quicker as it was super early and also by a much nicer  doctor. I was told that it appeared I had tendon damage and needed to see a specialist, so I was referred to Derby hospital for an assessment. Within 3 seconds, my consultant at Derby knew I had completely severed my tendon and I was given the option to have surgery there and then with a local anaesthetic or to come back another day and have an injection in the neck to numb my whole arm.

I'm the kind of person who would only get worked up and super anxious if I was left waiting to worry about the idea of surgery so I chose to have it done straight away. Major Ellis points for this because I'm such a wimp as soon as I set foot in a hospital, I would never have expected myself to be so brave! Before I knew it I had been whizzed onto the operating table and half an hour later my tendon ends were back together again. The nurses were amazing and not long after I went home with a giant club hand and got plenty of rest.

Two days later I returned to Derby to have the wound checked and to have a custom made splint fitted. Again the staff were amazing and I also started a bit of physio to get my fingers working again. Its all been very painful and theres a long way to go but hopefully it'll mend nice and strong. I'll no doubt have a cracking scar but thats nothing if it means I can have all my fingers working again. I have physio to do on my own four times a day and I'll return to Derby for therapy once a week.

For now, I'm all splinted up and I'll have to keep both the wrist and fingers splints on for a while until my strength comes back. Who knew so much damage could come from doing the washing up? Don't do it, its dangerous! On the bright side, this whole experience is forcing me to use my left hand more and my writing is coming on a treat! It's frustrating not being able to tie my hair up properly but other than that I'm managing. So thats where I've been for the past couple of weeks, its looking likely that I'll be posting more frequently on my blog for the next few weeks and I'll probably do update posts on how I'm doing with recovery.
Let me know what your blogs are in the comments - I'm going to need reading material to keep me stimulated for a while!

 Thanks for reading!

Ellis x

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