Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Autumn Leaves

Well what can I say except very disappointed. We are all very shocked, especially at the issuing of 'at risk' notices. They were not expected at all. We have been given options though and after the initial panic some of them do not seem to be too bad. Obviously I am talking from a purely personal view point. I know some of my colleagues are deeply upset and don't know how they are going to work the new hours around their family commitments. I'm lucky up to a point where all I have to worry about is myself. Most of what has been proposed I've had to rule out because of my health, there is no way I can work overnight for instance. However as I was already considering leaving because of finding it hard to work the hours I do now, the opportunity to do shorter shifts may work to my advantage and allow me to continue working a little longer.

Onto more pleasant things, sort of.

My sons were buzzing with news when I got home. They had witnessed three people trying to steal stuff from a skip across the road. My neighbour, who is in his sixtys and has already had one heart attack, went out to remonstrate with them. Fearing things might get out of hand Laurence, who was still in uniform having just arrived home, went out to make sure my neighbour did not get attacked. Apparently one look at Laurence and the skip was forgotten and all three took off quite quickly. Not surprised, he's a big boy is my son and very impressive in full uniform.

Andrew has been out and about practising for his bike test which he is taking later this month. He seems pretty confident and is desperate to pass because it will mean a huge reduction in his insurance which is due in October.

Work was OK, I coped much better than I have over the last few weeks, I even managed to eat something and keep it all down. Maybe at last things are on the up but I've been here before so will not be convinced for a while yet.

Went up the garden to check on my tomatoes and was horrified to find them wilting. I don't know how with all the rain we've had recently. They are still full of fruit but it is still all green. It is looking increasingly likely that the four tomatoes I got off the plant earlier this week will be the only four. The garden had a distinctly autumn feel to it today. The leaves have started to fall off the trees and there was that distinctive smell that conjures up crisp November eveningss, and it isn't even September! Now I love autumn, it is possibly my favourite time of year but not yet, not this early.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Candle In The Wind.

Last night was so cold. I ended up getting out of bed and putting on my winter jimjams. Personally I think the 31st of August is a bit soon to be putting the winter weight duvet back on the bed so resisted that but I don't want to spend another night shivering so it is out of it's box and on standby on the rocking chair. It was announced today that it is officially the coldest summer for fourteen years. Well I didn't really need to be told that. Apart from one or two hot spots my summer wardrobe has remained in the wardrobe. I think we can expect a long, hard, cold winter, I'm sure we won't be disappointed.

Today is the fourteenth anniversary of Princess Diana's death and how quickly the world forgets. I am no Diana fan but I did expect a little mention in the paper this morning but not a dicky bird. Now this could be because fourteen years is not a notable number or it could be because the media is totally obsessed with Lybia at the moment. However it is my personal opinion that this is the natural way of things. You cannot feel the same shock, distress or sorrow after such a long period. Time dulls those feelings because if it didn't we'd all be constantly paralysed with grief and unable to function which would endanger our survival. The media will probably try to re-awaken those feelings on the twentieth anniversary, but personally I'm hoping that they will now allow Diana to slip gently into history where she belongs.

As I sit here writing I can hear the frantic tapping of my neighbour as he once again tries to 'fix' his patio. Several years ago he had his flagstone patio pulled up and replaced by a crazy paving one. It looked really good until we had our first heavy rain then it was all hands to the pump as the water rose rapidly threatening to flood his kitchen. Where the flagstones had gaps providing plenty of drainage the crazy paving has no gaps and no means of drainage. Ever since he has been out there at every opportunity chipping away trying to insert some drainage holes, unfortunately he doesn't seem to be succeeding hence the renewed vigor with which he's attacking the stuff at the moment.

Had a phone call from the Brompton in response to my latest e-mail. They are quite worried about how things are and I wouldn't be at all surprised if I'm not called in again soon. On the plus side the oxygen I was prescribed two months ago is finally being installed at the end of this week. I am having one static cylinder at home and then several portable cylinders as I need oxygen most when moving around. It means I can take it into work to help me moving around the workplace without having to resort to a wheelchair.

The Warfarin clinic was so busy today. I couldn't even find a seat when I first arrived and had to prop myself up against the wall. This meant I was unable to eavesdrop on my favourite OAP's so the wait was long and very boring. I couldn't help observing that if the staff had spent more time taking blood and less time standing around complaining to each other about how busy it was things would have moved quicker. In the end I waited fifty minutes for a test that takes two mintues to perform. It was then off to Tesco where I searched the shelves for things I might fancy eating. In the end I came away with two large pots of Onken yoghurts, a large bag of monster munch, cherries, apples and another box of Complan, banana flavour. A strange combination admittedly but if I can eat something it is a step in the right direction.

Well I have to get ready for this meeting, I really don't want to go. Not because I'm worried about what I'm going to hear but the fact I'm having to give up a free evening to do it. Bad news should be delivered on their time not mine.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Suspicious Minds

I am about to have a rant.

It appears that fire and police officers have been banned from the ten year remembrance service at ground zero because there is no room for them. WTF! If anyone should have prime spot at the ceremony, apart from the relatives of course, it is these brave men and women who turned up on that terrible day, many on their day off, to help. And lets not forget they lost friends and colleagues too. What a disgrace! No doubt all the spaces have been taken by politicians seeking re-election and who were probably not even in office at the time of the event. And of course there will be a good number of celebrities who want to increase their popularity by showing everyone how much they 'care'. And what's with the 'no room' bit? Ground zero is huge, you could fit half the population of Manhattan in it. In my opinion this needs a serious re think and whoever made the decision to exclude those that were just doing their jobs should be sacked. If Bush (who ran away and hid) is there when the people who put their own lives on the line to help others are not then it will be a more damaging day for America than the actual event itself. Now here's a thought, if those celebs and politicians really cared they would be contacting the organisers and say 'give my ticket to someone who really deserves it', fat chance.

Saw something extremely odd on my travels today. Went to Staples in Milton Keynes so Andrew could pick up some bits and pieces for the new school year. He and Peter went into the shop while I stayed outside in the car. My attention was soon drawn to a young black guy wandering back and forth in front of the shop. As I watched he walked along the row of cars looking into each one then he walked around the side of the building and did the same to the two rows of cars parked there. By now I'd got my mobile out and my finger on the nine button just in case he started trying doors.  However he must have known he was being watched because he came back to the front of the shop and sat on a bench. He was wearing a white fleecy hoodie which he pulled as far forward on his face as possible, which was odd for a warmish August afternoon and bright turqouise basketball shoes. It was very odd and I sort of wish I'd phoned the police anyway but I couldn't prove he was doing anything other than stretching his legs.

Other than that it has been a quiet day. I fancied a curry so made a Biriyani but by the time I got it on the table I couldn't face it. I just seem to have lost all interest in food. I'm getting quite worried about it to be honest but don't know what to do about it. I've tried forcing myself to eat but only succeed in making myself feel sick. I'm drinking plenty so at least I am getting something in my stomach. Maybe the answer is to stick with  liquid foods for a while so tomorrow I'm going to have just soup and see how I get on.

Tomorrow is Warfarin clinic day whoop de doo, but at least it gets me out of the house I suppose. Tomorrow is also the big meeting about the new shift patterns. I can't say I'm looking forward to it as in my experience if they have to have a big out of hours meeting about something it is never good news. Still I will reserve judgement until I hear what they have to say, maybe it won't be as bad as everyone thinks. To be honest whatever the outcome won't really bother me as much as some because I am already considering my position and whether I should still be working. This news might be just the thing to push me one way or another. If the new patterns are difficult for me than I'll just have to walk away. What I can't afford to do is get stressed about it. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Come On Irene

I've put on a pound! Way hay! It is not much but it is a start. Obviously all the picking is doing something. I  tried one of my Complan sachets this afternoon. I'm a bit dubious about the flavours though. They boast original, whatever that is, strawberry, banana, chocolate and.................chicken. Ewww! A cold chicken drink sounds horrible. I stuck to chocolate, being the coward that I am. In my experience strawberry and banana drinks sometimes taste like anything but, chocolate on the other hand always tastes like chocolate. And this did but a very weak flavour and not at all sweet. It wasn't as bad as it could have been but not as nice as I'd hoped.

Last nights meal out was a delight. I managed to eat a starter of Mozzarella wrapped in breadcrumbs, deep fried and served on a tomato and basil sauce. It was delicious but for me enough, I didn't even finish it because it was very filling. The men ploughed through a starter, main course and Laurence and Andrew even managed pudding. I love Italian food well cooked and was really disappointed that I just couldn't eat anything else. I did taste everyone else's food though so that was OK. Laurence was given a beautiful Peroni beer glass because it was his birthday. How nice is that?

Driving through Dunstable afterwards I couldn't believe how deserted the place was. This was nine thirty on a bank holiday Saturday night and the place was empty. I know the clubbing hot spots are mostly in Luton and Bedford these days but even so.

So New York was bracing itself for the biggest storm to hit it in close to fifty years and some hysterical reporters were likening the event to 9/11 (the tenth anniversary of which is next month). How ridiculous and how insulting to those who died in the plane attack and their relatives. Even at it's worst this storm was going to be nothing like the plane attacks. For a start New York had plenty of warning and the sensible people had moved out. In 2001 they were not so lucky. And why is the focus always on New York when other parts of the country have already been hit and suffered loss of life? Florida was badly hit with one man getting the Darwin award for ignoring surfing warning and getting himself killed. There is alway one! As it turned out the hit was no where near as bad as expected as Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm before it got to New York. They are still expecting a storm surge later with some flooding but on the whole they seem to have got away with it. Not like poor New Orleans when Katrina hit a few years ago.

We had a quiet day today, Peter worked on his car, Andrew spent the day reading and Laurence went off with his mates to a cider festival in Westoning. I watched the Grand Prix  which was quite interesting the watched the film The Queen which I've managed to avoid up to now. It wasn't as bad as I'd been lead to believe but was not something I'd have been happy paying to see in the cinema.

Not feeling too bad today but then I haven't really done anything to test myself. My plans to spend the afternoon in the garden were dashed by a sudden downpour so all I've done is sit in front of the TV or sit in front of the computer. OK I did cook lunch and I have washed all the towels and the bed lining but nothing really physical. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Hippo Bird Day Two Ewes

Today is Laurence's birthday, he is twenty three, do I feel old! I've been remembering the circumstance of his birth hour by hour and it is weird to think that at 10.45 I was still not a mum with no idea that by the evening I would be. Laurence was born by emergency C section at 13.15, six weeks early weighing in at five pounds  eleven ounces. If you saw him now you would never believe he was ever that tiny. To celebrate we are off to our favourite Italian restaurant Graziano's for a meal this evening. I was to ill to go out for our anniversary meal so it is going to be a combined celebration.

Laurence is a happy bunny today as yesterday he signed the contract and the deeds for his house sale. The sellers have also thrown in the washing machine and fridge freezer for thirty pounds a piece which Laurence is delighted with. We are going to see the house again next week so we can measure up for curtains. There are so many little things he hasn't even thought of buying such as towels, bedding etc. We will give/lend as much as we can to help him out until he can afford his own.

Yes! At last four small, red and beautifully sweet tomatoes have been picked and consumed with gusto. And I can tell you it was really worth the wait. I will be checking daily in the hope of finding some more. Loads more blackberries have appeared and if it ever stops raining I'll be out to collect them for the freezer. I want to plant my winter bulbs and re-varnish the garden furniture before the winter really gets going but looking at the forecast I don't think I'm going to have many opportunities, not this weekend at least.

Went to Milton Keynes shopping center today, big mistake on a bank holiday, yes I do live under a rock and had completely forgotten. We arrived late in the afternoon so it wasn't as bad as it could be. I was unable to hire a scooter so had to stumble round from bench to bench but that was OK. It gave me chance to people watch, which I love doing. We bought Laurence's birthday present, four large bath sheets and a twelve piece stoneware crockery set. Yet more of the small items he has forgotten about. I finally got myself some Complan. My theory is that if I start getting the right minerals and vitamins I not getting at the moment then I will start to feel better which in turn means I will be able to start eating properly again. Whether I'm right or not time will tell.

Sent an e-mail to the hospital as I'm still not well on this drug. Although I have mostly stopped vomiting I constantly nauseous and my breathing though better is not good. I am alarmed at how much I have deteriorated since March, surely it is not supposed to happen this fast?

It has been another horrendous day weather wise. The rain has been exceptionally heavy with some thunder and lightening thrown in. A typical August bank holiday. Here's hoping for an improvement tomorrow. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves

I am feeling slightly better today. The pain in my chest is still there and I'm still coughing BUT I feel less congested so fingers crossed things might be settling down at last. The chat around the supper table yesterday was how to get me to put weight on. My boys seem to have decided to take charge of this aspect of my care. Andrew is apparently going to take me on a tour of all the most unhealthy fast food restaurants and I'm banned from ordering anything remotely resembling salad. Laurence has obviously been thinking about this problem for some time and came up with a far more practical solution. Being a gym bunny he is into protein shakes etc and has done some research and come up with ....Complan. My grandmother used to drink this when she felt a bit run down and swore by it. As nothing else seems to be working I have agreed to give it a go and have requested chocolate flavour.

Andrew has spent today filling in his UCAS forms for applying for a university place. It seems much more complicated than my day but he seems to know what he is doing. He has listed four preferences for university, three in London, one in Hertfordshire and one in Staffordshire. He was going to only put two choices down but thankfully took my advice to apply for as many as possible to improve his chances. He has been a busy boy because he has also booked his bike theory test. He does virtually nothing all holiday then in the space of twenty four hours he's got his whole life sorted. No wonder I getting grey hair.

Peter had more excitement than he could handle today when the cat was sick all over our bed. By the time I got home he'd put the sheets through the washing machine and steam cleaned the mattress and the duvet.  Don't you just love animals. The cat seems perky enough this evening but I will be keeping an eye on him and if he is off his food or is sick again it will be a trip to the vet.

Last day tomorrow then four days off, lovely.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

But I'm So Tired Of Struggling

Today was a struggle, I felt like I was pushing my way through water all the time. Sitting down I was fine but even a small walk to the loo was slow and painful. My chest feels like it has been blow torched. I'm thinking it is because of all the coughing I'd been doing over the last week or so. I have no energy at all and feel totally weak. For the first time I can ever remember my heart wasn't in the job and I really didn't care. This is not like me, I feel as though I'm in an alien body. I'm hating being up one day and down the next, especially as the down days are beginning to outweigh the up days. Part of me is getting scared because I feel as though I'm on a downward slope now and the harder I fight the faster I fall. And fighting is becoming so difficult now, I just don't feel I have the energy for it anymore.

Did anyone see Harry's Hero's on BBC 1 last night. This is about four wounded servicemen who had survived terrible injuries and were now going to the north pole to raise money for the Help For Heros charity. How inspirational were those men? So brave and determined not to let their disability get in the way of doing something to help others. I have to admit I became quite tearful looking at their terrible injuries. The fact that they are walking again is amazing, let alone trogging across a frozen ice cap. Part two is being shown next Tuesday and I recommend you catch it if you can.

After all the excitement of collecting furniture yesterday this evening is going to be a much quieter affair. Laurence was back at work and we are all gathering energy ready for the next onslaught. Probably sometime next week.

Andrew has spent a quiet day recovering from a double bashing of karate and kung fu.

So tonight I am planning a really early night, there isn't much on TV that will tempt me into staying up. I only have two more days to go before four days off and if I can get through them I will be very pleased with myself. I'm hoping that a good long sleep will help my health and my mood. If neither have improved by the weekend I'll be phoning the hospital on Monday and asking for their advice, again. I'm still debating as to how long I should continue working. I've given the matter a lot of thought but can't quite make myself to admit defeat. It would be foolish to throw in the towel just because I've hit a bad patch. On the other hand I don't want to fall off the twig whilst still at work. Decisions, decisions. Ho hum, life is never easy and straight forward is it.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Don't Talk To Me About Work

Well I survived my first day back at work virtually unscathed. I won't say I was totally relaxed about the whole thing and went armed with anti sickness tabs and pain killers but didn't need either. I did need to take my inhaler a couple of times though because the increased dose hasn't really kicked in yet. Hopefully I will start to feel the benefit tomorrow. I was asked once whether I really should have come back. The question was well meant but irritated me because I'm fed up with people assuming they know how I feel better than I do.

Laurence is in scavenger hunt mode and today has secured a coffee table to go with the three piece suite and dining table and chairs. So far he has got everything off freecycle or been given things, how lucky is he? I wish freecycle was around when we were setting up home, but lets face it the Internet was barely around when we were setting up home. It is just too easy these days. Tonight my car has been commandeered, being the only one with a roof rack, and he and Peter are off to collect the dining table and chairs and secure them in a friend's garage. I will be sitting at home watching Eastenders and relaxing as I am 'too fragile to be any help' and 'will take up room where a chair could fit'. I know my place. To be honest I'm happy to have my help turned down on this occasion as I need to rest before tomorrow's onslaught.

Andrew seems happier today and has done all his homework so can relax properly for the last two weeks of holiday. He is off to kung fu tonight, last night's karate obviously not enough for him.

My new Lush delivery arrived this morning and the box is currently smelling out the bedroom. I always order from the website as I find it has more choice than the local branch, which seems to stock six types of bath bombs and not a lot else. I am resisting opening the box until the end of my four day shift because all I'll want to do is relax in perfumed water and that will be a waste when I've got to gear myself up for work again the next day. Far better to wait until I can really, really relax.

Is anyone else getting just a little hacked off with this Libya thing? OK I know it is a significant event and a historic shift of power etc, etc but do we have to have wall to wall coverage? The choice seems to be between the near hysteria of the sky coverage and the boring plod of the BBC coverage. The whole thing sounds as though it is going the same was as Saddam in Iraq. There are two possible outcomes as far as I can tell. Either Gaddaffi will take his own life or he will be captured, tried and sentenced to death as Saddam was. The trouble is does anyone actually care? I know I've stopped watching the news and won't watch again until the whole thing is done and dusted. Unfortunately that is going to take sometime unless something  even more news worthy happens. Let's hope that it dies a natural death and isn't swept aside by some even worse tragedy.

Sudden panic in the collection of the dining table. The delivery of the three piece suite was delayed making Laurence late to pick up the table so Peter is going to have to go on his own. Peter is not thrilled but has to go or risk losing Laurence's furniture. Seems that even when they are moving out it still takes mum and dad to bail them out from time to time.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Way Things Work Themselves Out

Well it has been another busy day for the Roberts household.

First up was a phone call from my nurse specialist in response to my plea to increase my dose slightly to aid my breathing. He was in full agreement that this should happen and as it was to a level I had already beeen at with no problems decided to let me do this myself. He talked me through the process, which was not a complicated as I'd imagined, and now I'm on 1.2 so should feel an improvement in the next 24 - 48 hours. Apparently he was going to show me how to do this at our next appointment as if I had a bad reaction again I can decrease my dose without having to go all the way into London to do it. All other increases will still take place at the hospital so I can be monitored for an hour or so to check everything is ok.

Peter went out to spend a day at an organisation he's applied to work for. He has decided that he is fed up of working from home and wants to be out and about again mixing with other people, which is fair enough. He saw this job adverstised and thought he'd give it a shot. He was very surprised but delighted to be given an interview and an invite to go and see what the job entails. So now it is all fingers crossed that he is successful. It will be a load off my mind if he does get it. My illness has made us both a little bit insular. I was getting worried that Peter had abandoned everything just to look after me. Getting out of the home will mean he has something else to think about and will stop PH becoming the only thing we ever talk about. I know working has made it so much easier for me to cope with being ill and I'm hoping it will be the same for him.

Laurence was home after a rather frought weekend at work. He went to see a dining table and chairs he found on free cycle and is delighted with them so has earmarked them. He is picking up a three piece suite tomorrow. Thankfully he has a friend with an empty garage willing to store all this stuff until his house is ready. The latest update from the estate agent has hinted that he may not have to wait as long as he thought. The Halifax has now confirmed his mortgage after recieving the letter from Laurence's HR department regarding his salary. As far as the chain is concerned the seller is exchanging contracts on the house they are buying in about two - three weeks so Laurence could be in his own home within a month. Scary! I have just found out that my car has just been volunteered to pick up the dining table as I'm the only one with a roof rack, even more scary!

Andrew has been moping around today missing his girlfriend. To take his mind off things he has thrown himself into the homework he's been putting off all summer. I shouldn't complain because at least he is doing it but I wish he'd just do it in the first week rather than have it hanging over him for the whole summer. This evening he's gone to his karate club so hopefully he'll work some of his angst out there and be a little sunnier tomorrow.

The weather has been lovely, perfect for my last day off before going back to work. I spent a pleasant couple of hours with my ipod and a good book on the decking. Perfect! I feel refreshed, calm and ready to get back in to it. Just hope my breathing has improved by then and if so, life will be very good indeed.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Catch 22

Well it's back, yes X Factor is back on British screens and will be the main topic of conversation in school playgrounds and work places for the next few months. I used to really enjoy it but the blatant fixing that went on in the last series has really put me off. I did watch the first act, a teenager whose only ambition in life is to sleep with as many women as possible. The minute those words were out of his mouth I hit the 'off' button. There are people I would love to spend a Saturday night with and he wasn't one of them. I much prefer Britain's Got Talent simply because instead of a parade of screeching wannabes you do sometimes find a gem amongst the dross, and the dross can be pretty entertaining too.

After my exploits yesterday I am shattered so today is definitely a sit on my bum day. I did do a pile of ironing this morning but that is all. I even had an afternoon nap. I'm in a 'don't know what to do with myself' mood. I'm too tired to go and potter in the garden but can't quite resign myself to spending all afternoon in front of the TV either. Especially when there is very little on. Oh hum, guess I'll just have to put my head down for another little nap.

Maybe because I was bored or maybe I just wanted to scare myself I decided foolishly to see how much it would be to put Andrew on my car insurance. The first hurdle in the process was to find out how much my car is actually worth because apparently insurance companies want to know this little fact and cannot be bothered to find out for themselves. Well after visiting several sites I'm still none the wiser having been quoted anything between £995 (we buy any car) to £2764 (trade black book prices uk). I decided to plump for the top end as I rather worry about not having enough insurance. Then I hit another problem that my insurance is not due until October so all the sites are refusing to quote me until nearer the date. Arrrgggghhhh! Why does getting a simple piece of information seem so long winded and complicated. All I want is an 'idea', I don't want to actually buy the bloody insurance this minute.

My breathing has deteriorated again overnight and I've had to e mail my nurse specialist. He said that if I couldn't cope on 1.1 he would up me to 1.2 this week, well hopefully that is what he will do and very soon. At the moment I feel as though I've got very bad asthma. Not so bad when sitting still watching the TV but I really feel it if doing anything active. I'm getting really fed up with it all, having to sacrific my breathing so I'm not vomiting all the time is not my idea of successful treatment. I was never that bothered about having a transplant but now I hope and pray I get one and soon because it is the only way I can see out of the see saw I've been trapped on. Ah well, I guess I'm just going to have to grit my teeth and get one with it. Tomorrow is another day. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Gonna Make This Garden Grow

Feeling very tired today, a situation not helped by my mad cat. At two this morning I was woken up by Smirnoff meowing very loudly by the side of the bed. Fearing this heralded a 'present' I got out of bed and turned the landing light on so I could see the bedroom floor without waking Pete. Meanwhile Smirnoff continued his mad caterwauling so I searched all up and down the stairs but found nothing then the cat abruptly stopped and stalked off. No idea what that was all about and still don't, if he tries it again tonight he'll find himself outside pretty damned quick. I did finally get back to sleep but it was already getting light when I did.

So a sleepy start but after a strong cuppa and a read of the paper I didn't feel to bad. After yesterday I treated myself to a bath bomb and settled back for a quiet half hour with my book. Scuppered again, this time by a neighbour playing Frank Sinatra very loudly in the back garden. After trying to ignore 'I left my heart in San Francisco' I finally gave up when we reached 'Chicago' and got out.

Nevertheless feeling more awake, fragrant and energised I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and finally get out into the garden for a bit of weeding. First stop were the brambles where I got another couple of dozen berries that were not quite ripe yesterday. Then fortified by a couple of fresh fun I sat on a box and spent a pleasant couple of hours pulling and trimming. The garden did look much better afterwards but still needs a few more hours on it but at least I have cleared a couple of spaces from my winter bulbs. They will be planted next month. The weather didn't last and although I would have liked to continue after lunch my back and the rain had other ideas. Of course within an hour of me putting everything away the sun came back out by which time I couldn't be bothered. Still little and often might be the safest way so I am all set for another go tomorrow, weather permitting.

I have noticed the downturn in my breathing I was warned about and although expected it is disappointing. I have to stay at this level for a week before they will increase things from 1.1 to 1.2 so I'm going to have put up with it for a few more days and then hopefully a slight but noticable improvement.

As Andrew's girlfriend is leaving for Bulgeria tomorrow he has asked if she can sleep over with us, innocently I should add, tonight. Andrew is always going to sleep overs and has never asked me if he can have friends to stay. I think he might worry about my health, which he shouldn't do. Of course I have said yes. He will sleep on the settee and she will have his room.

Spent the afternoon in fromt of the TV watching series one of Horrible Histories on DVD. In a moment of extreme boredom when I was in hospital I watched one episode of series three and was instantly hooked. Although designed for kids there is a lot for adults in it and I think it is an excellent way of teaching. I have bought series one and two and as soon as they are released will be getting three and four. If you get the chance I would thoroughly recommend you catch an episode, they are brilliant.

Well got to go and run a quick duster around the living room before Andrew's guest arrives (I'm leaving him to sort out his room), then off to make another cake. Chocolate fudge this time I think. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Good Day Sunshine

Today has been a good day. The sun is shining, I'm feeling better and all is right with the world.

Woke up this morning feeling hungry so started the day with a large bowl of Cheerios and about an hour later had a packet of Monster Munch. Having made a cup of tea I took it out into the garden and noticed that the brambles at the bottom of the garden were covered in fruit, most of it ripe. So I grabbed a bowl from the kitchen and picked as many berries as I could. These have now been washed and are nestling in my freezer ready for the apple and blackberry crumbles we love so much during the winter months. I will be out in a couple of days to get the rest.

At midday it was off out for lunch and a trip to Costco. To save time we decided to eat at the shop and I ordered their cheese salad. It was lovely and so much of it, I waddled around afterwards feeling completely stuffed and avoiding the free samples. Well all except the pie sample, I adore pie, sweet or savoury. Today it was chicken and veg and was scummy. We did a huge shop, mainly because we had run out of everything since I'd been ill and this is the first time I felt up to doing more than a quick dash and grab. I am now comfortable that we won't run out of kitchen towel, loo paper or baked beans for a good few months. I swear the boot groaned as Peter loaded up. Oh I forgot to mention our near road rage incident in the car park. When we first arrived all the disabled bays had been taken so we went around again and saw two people getting into their car after loading up. Peter pulled up and waited, indicator going to signal our intention to take the space when around the corner came an elderly couple in some Nissan thing obviously intent on nicking our space. Anyway the person reversing out of the space saw what was about to happen and neatly blocked the Nissan off so we could nip behind them and take the space we'd been waiting for. The looks we got were unbelieveable. I think this man would have risked an accident for that space. He drove off in such a huff. I hate people who try and nick other people's spaces. If I see a car indicating they are taking a space about to become vacant I drive on, that is the polite thing to do. Others had seen us indicating and had driven on so what was wrong with these two? The fact that this pair were so much older than us made it even more shocking as you expect the older the generation the more manners they have.

Back home we unpacked and put away and then another cuppa and another trip up the garden. this time the plum tree caught my eye. It, like the bramble was dripping with ripe fruit. I picked a couple sat down on the decking and enjoyed the lovely, juicy sweet/sour taste. For twenty minutes sitting there munching on plums with a cuppa to swill them down and Smirnoff for company life was truly blissful. Then it was back to reality. What was I going to do with all this stuff. Do plums freeze? I'll have to find out otherwise it is going to have to be my first attempt at jam and very soon.

It was drug delivery day and this time everything was there and in the correct amount. Hopefully I'll now have a month without any major panics.

Andrew's girlfriend was over today. She and her family used to live here but they now live in Bulgeria and come over to England two or three times a year to visit friends. She has been here since Monday and is going back tomorrow. I decided to make some cakes to make tea a bit more of an event and made a vanilla sponge and some mixed spice and sultana rock cakes. Both turned out pretty well and were wolfed down so I think she like them. She's such a nice girl, I just wish she lived closer for Andrew's sake. Andrew is hoping to go over to see her during the October half term.

My appetite has ruturned and I'm hoovering up anything I can get my teeth into. It is wonderflu to have control of my stomach again. Hopefully I will start to put that much needed weight back on now, just in time for them to increase my dose and then around we will go again. Still I'm going to enjoy it will I can, now I wonder if there is any cake left? 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

It's been a sad day in the PH community with yet another of our number beaten by this horrible illness. When someone dies it sort of brings the rest of us up short because any of us could suffer the same fate at any time. This illness does not follow a defined path, you can't plot out the progress and outcomes as neatly as you can, say, cancer. Every single person diagnosed will be attacked by the illness differently and every single person will respond differently to treatment, that's what makes it so difficult to find a cure above and beyond transplant. Some will struggle for years, some will survive via transplants and some will go very quickly, without warning. You might feel you are winning the fight, your medics will tell you that you are doing well then bang, your heart just can't take anymore and you are gone. That is the ultimate cruelty of this illness. I did not know Jacqui but that doesn't matter, any death from this illness is sad and felt personally. By all accounts Jacqui struggled long and hard against this illness, I am sure she will be much missed.

Naturally after my news yesterday I've been doing some research and have come to a rather surprising conclusion. A lot of people talk of transplant as the 'cure', well if you think about it it isn't a cure. All you are doing is swapping one set of problems for another. Your life will still revolve around hospital appointments, you will still need to take pot loads of meds and you will still have to be careful with yourself. Not to mention the fact that by having a transplant you could actually be shortening your life and you might just survive longer on the meds. On the plus side, and it is a very big plus, is quality of life. Some people think that living, no matter how ill you may be, is better than taking the plunge and having the transplant. Living a long life is all very well if you are healthy and can get out and do stuff. What if you are bed bound? Attached to oxygen twenty four seven? Unable to feed, wash or dress yourself? That is where the transplant comes in. For me quality of life is much more important than quantity. I would happily sacrifice twenty years as I am for ten active, see the world, years. A transplant would give me a second chance to do all the things I've been putting off, how many people can say they will get a similar chance. What a gift! Lots of people will disagree and argue that I have a duty to stay alive for as long as possible for my family. The question I have to ask myself is would my family want to see me day in and day out in pain and distress for years to come and for my family the answer has to be no they wouldn't. I will continue to read and think about my options probably until the decision is taken out of my hands but I feel I'm making the right decision for me, and my family, for now.

What every PH patient wants is a real cure, one that doesn't involved major surgery. Medics say one day this will happen and maybe they are right. The stem cell research in Canada seems to have positive results so far but as yet there is no data on the long term effects of such treatment. Unfortunately it is doubtful that it will ever be an option for those patients with PH now. All we can do is trust our doctors to do the best they can for us.

Andrew did OK on his AS results but not as well as he hoped. Ideally he wanted two B's and two C's or above but he ended up with two C's and two D's, one of the D's in a subject he is dropping anyway. He can still end up with the grades he needs to do his Paramedic course but he's just going to have to work harder this school year. I'm sure he'll do it but understandably he's feeling a bit down at the moment.

Laurence got the letter he needed for his mortgage from his HR department and it is now winging it's way to the mortgage advisor. At least he has now cheered up.

It has rained continually since about seven this morning and I'm fed up. Typical isn't it that as soon as I start to feel better the weather prevents me going out. I have to grateful that I don't live in Dorset though, 50mm in six hours apparently, wow! It is bad enough here with the patio awash and most of the plants beaten flat by the force of the water. I'm dreading going out when it stops as I hate to think what damage it has done to the tomatoes.

I have the joys of the warfarin clinic tomorrow, joy!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Let's Have The Good News Instead

OMG! What a day! I don't know where to start.

Let's get the less important news out of the way first. Nearly ran over Richard O'Brian (Riff,Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) on the Brompton Road. He was attempting to cross the road against the lights and I don't know who was more horrified. Him because he realised not only had we nearly killed him but that I'd recognised him too. My husband, who called him a 'burke' not realising who he was or me at the ghastly brown/orange ensemble he was wearing. Anyway all passed peacefully and we continued on our journey. The trip in was so quick and so quiet we arrived at the hospital half an hour early.

Mindful of what happened last time we skipped the coffee and went straight to the appointment. The doctors had just finished their ward round so I was seen straight away by a very nice lady doctor called Dr. Wood. (Why do all my doctors names start with a 'W'? Wort, Wong and now Wood?) She was very sympathetic to the sickness and pain I'd been experiencing and after a quick examination of my swollen joints and a detailed description of what triggered the sickness etc prescribed yet another anti sickness tablet which she has assured me will do the job without ANY side effect. I start these tonight and if it is the old anti sickness tablets causing the pain then things should start easing off by the weekend. If I am still in pain and/or being sick by Friday I am to ring her.

I was then seen by my PH consultant who gave me a thorough examination and told me that as far as the PH was concerned I'm in pretty good shape. He reckons that it might not be the tablet that is causing the problems but the Flolan. I was weighed and found to have dropped another two kilos so I am about six kilos under what I was when I started the treatment. The problem he thinks is that because I am still getting the dose based on the weight I started at, I'm getting a massive hit instead of the gentle increase that was intended. So they recalculated all the doses based on my current weight and have reduced me down to 1.1 for a short period in order to clear all the excess out of my system. From now on I will be having my weight checked every time they intend to change the dose and increase accordingly. It will take longer as they will probably need to recalculate every time but it will be safer for me. He thinks I will be able to ditch the tablets by next week, I have no trouble doing this as I know I'll be fine at the new dose, even at the too high 1.2 I was fine at that level. They are concerned that my breathing might suffer slightly but it will only be temporary and then we will try again. I have a feeling we are going to be yo-yoing for months.

So once all that was sorted out it was on to the news about the transplant. Harefield have studied all my medical notes right up to my last visit to the Brompton and have decided I am not suitable for the heart/lung procedure. Having examined my new MRI and ECHO scans, coupled with the clinical notes they don't think my heart is as badly damaged as everyone first thought. Good news indeed. It is enlarged and the walls have thickened but the pumping action is strong and efficient. It seems that my heart also has good recovery properties. Throughout this last year, whenever my breathing worsened for whatever reason my heart showed significant strain. However when the breathing improved my heart recovered quickly and suffered no permanent damage. The thinking now is that because my heart is strong and has good recovery if the lungs can be replaced then the heart will be able to recover to such a degree as to not cause me any further problems. Complicated or what?

So the next step in the process is that I've got to go and see a cardiologist who will test me to make sure there is no signs of  recurring arrhythmia (I had an ablation for this almost two years ago) and they have to be satisfied that it is unlikely to reoccur anytime soon. Once I have been signed off by cardiology it is then over to the lung function department for a battery of tests to find out exactly how bad my lungs are. Then it is off to Harefield for more specialist tests and tissue typing. I could of course fall at any of these hurdles but for now it all sounds pretty positive. I should be getting an appointment for the cardiologist in about two weeks, so not long to wait. At least I have got over the first step.

In other news Andrew is a bag of nerves as his AS results are due out tomorrow. He is off to a party tonight so hopefully that will take his mind off things for a while.

Laurence hit a small hitch with his house sale when the Halifax, who'd already approved his mortgage, decided that they were not going to include his shift allowance after all and demanded more money from him. Laurence finishes his probationary period in September after which his salary will significantly increase. So he was on HR this morning who have agreed to write a letter and fax it to the Halifax stating what Laurence's salary will be from October. Bastards, I hope they choke on it, after they'd agreed his mortgage, again, of course.

Interestingly Laurence has forty rioters from north London staying at his specialist hotel at the moment. And a 'right bunch of sulky gits they are too.' You don't say! I wonder why? Maybe because they really thought they wouldn't get caught or if they did all they'd get is a slap on the wrist. Well surprise, surprise, wrong!

Well it has been a full day. I've been told to take it easy over the next day or two while the meds settle. If all goes well I'll be better by the weekend and back to work on Tuesday. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

I am please to say that I am feeling so much better today. Still not eating properly but I did have some cereal for breakfast and a very small plate of pasta for lunch, both of which I have kept down and which have not made me feel queasy. Looks like everything has settled again even if it is with the help of the nausea tablets. Obviously as my health has improved so has my emotional state and I feel much more positive than I was yesterday. I don't know if it is the frequency with which I've been ill this year or whether it is the overall length of time that I've been ill but I found myself in a very dark place very quickly this time. I normally can keep my chin up during most things and it is only when I've got through it that I tend to have a mini meltdown just to clear the air. I was shocked at how down I felt yesterday, tearful, full of self pity and just about on the verge of giving up, not like me at all. I guess there comes a point when you feel emotionally drained as well as physically and maybe I have reached that point. I'm sure the old me will return but it was a very scary time for a while.

My nurse specialist has obviously been busy rallying the troops on my behalf and has arranged for me to go into hospital tomorrow to see the Palliative Care Consultant to see if we can come up with a solution for my sickness problem. The tablets I am on are not intended for long term use and have started to cause me a few problems such a joint pain and swelling. It isn't too bad at the moment but will only get worse with time, hence the disastrous trial withdrawal. Now that I've proved that I cannot tolerate the higher doses without the tablets something has to be done. The hospital is very reluctant to reduce my drug dose again as I am benefiting so much. And if they do it won't solve the problem of what they do when I need an increase because my PH has worsened, as it is bound to do. So I have an appointment to see this consultant who is an expert on sickness control without making the rest of you feel like crap. With a bit of luck I'll come home without feeling sick and out of pain, or a least with the prospect of these things happening.

Also in the e-mail was the intriguing sentence 'I will also have some news about your transplant referral, and will update you on where we are at.' Now I wonder what that could mean? Obviously there has been some movement but is it good news or bad news, I will have to wait and see.

Someone who does seem to be having more success with his health is Dan Male. If you remember I reported on Dan way back in May when after being accepted for transplant in January a subsequent assessment in April found him to be too ill for the procedure. Well the good news is that Dan's health is improving and hopefully he will soon be back on the list. For a full update in Dan's own words click on the Joey Pouch link on the side bar.

So I'll be off to London bright and early in the morning and will let you know how I get on in tomorrow's blog. Take care.

Monday, 15 August 2011

I'm Like A Rubber Ball

Sorry for the lack of blog yesterday but the nausea returned with  a vengeance over night on Saturday and I spent most of yesterday in the bathroom until the anti sickness tablets kicked in. The brief hiatus between feeling dozy or feeling sick has passed. I am so disappointed as I thought I'd beaten it at last. My next increase is due on 12th September but I'm wondering whether it is worth all the aggravation. The dose I'm on now is only just under my target dose of 15 -20, I'm on 14 at present, and I feel so much better, when not being sick, than I have been of late. I still find walking any distance a bit of a problem unless I pace myself and stairs and slopes are still no go areas but I can live with all that. I hesitate to say it but I'm practically back to the stage I was at when first on the Iloprost and can't really see increasing the dose any further as being any more beneficial. I've improved beyond what I was warned to expect so maybe I should call a halt rather than go through all this again. It is something I have time to think about so I will not be making the decision until much nearer the time.

So today the prospect of going to work was just too much and I rang in sick, hopefully the tablet will really take hold by the end of today and I'll be fine for tomorrow. Once again I'm faced with the question of whether it is time to call it a day. I've barely managed a full shift since coming out of hospital and that is with being on reduced hours. I can't see me ever returning to my full hours at this rate. It is so depressing, why won't my body just behave itself? Maybe I'm trying to hard to be normal but what is the point of treatment if you can't get on with your life? For now I'm going to have to take things day by day and see how I go. I e-mailed my specialist nurse yesterday asking for advice and they got back to me early today asking me to return to the hospital later this week to have my dose reduced and to talk about 'where we go from here'. I am so disappointed, I can't tell you how sad I am feeling. I don't know what their plans will be now, I guess that is something to be discussed when I get there. The frequency with which I keep having to dash down to London the hospital will be providing me with my own parking space soon. I'm sure they are as sick of seeing me by now as I am of them. I seem to have been there every other week since late April.

After almost a week of silence we had no fewer than three calls from 'Microsoft' attempting to 'mend' our computer today. Fortunately Peter has recovered his sense of humour and has enjoyed winding the callers up but I can't see it lasting much longer. If they keep it up tomorrow the swearing is bound to start, rather hope I'll be back in work.

As the weather was behaving itself I managed a slow stroll around the garden for some much needed fresh air. I did feel slightly better afterwards so if it is fine again tomorrow and I'm up to it I think I might sit out for a while, at least being ill doesn't prevent me enjoying that. I am really worried about my tomtoes, although the plants are dripping with fruit they don't seem to be growing and are definitely not ripening. I know we still have most of August and part of September to go but if we don't get some sustained warm and sunny weather soon I will be writing off another year as a disaster.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow. 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Happy Anniversary

I've been married for twenty nine years today. I can't honestly say it has been blissful throughout, like all couple we have had our fair share of ups and downs, but we are still together and that is all that counts. As I was feeling better today we all went out for a pub lunch. Surprisingly for a Saturday we found a really quiet pub and settled down for what turned out to be a truly lovely meal. I stuck to something simple, soup and a jacket potato with cheese while the other three went to town. I didn't mind as for me being there and being well was more important.

Naturally I've been viewing the wedding album and can barely recognise the fresh face children looking back at me. Our wedding day was wonderful, the weather was perfect and we tied the knot in a church by the sea front and castle. The reception was held at a country hotel. By today's standards it was cheap and cheerful but for the early eighties it was quite posh. I can't believe how much people spend on their weddings these days. My wedding dress is still in the cupboard and I'm pleased to say I can still get into it.

The early years were a struggle as Peter was still a student and I worked as a library assistant but we were happy in our little flat by the sea front. After two years Peter completed his studies and got a job in London so it was a big move and a period of immense lowliness for me, shut up in a flat in a strange town with no job, no friends but all that changed after a couple of months when I found work in the jobcentre. Ironic huh?

Three kids, one degree, numerous cats and one house move later we are still happy and are each other's best friends. When we started out all those years ago we never envisaged that in our fifties I'd be ill and we'd facing one child moving out and another heading for university. I wonder what we will be like on our thirty ninth anniversary, looking after grand kids maybe? Who knows but it will be fun finding out.

Tonight will be spent sharing a bottle of wine and watching our favourite film, what more do we need?

In other news as previously mentioned I seem to be winning the battle with my stomach. although still not 100% I have not been sick and am only suffering bouts of nausea instead of the constant wobbles I was having yesterday. Still it is an improvemeny and for that we must be grateful. Tomorrow is my last day off before a four day stint at work so I'm hoping that my stomach and the weather will play ball because it my garden is beginning to resemble the Savannah.  

Friday, 12 August 2011

Amazing Grace

I am seriously thinking of getting my hair cut. I've had long hair since I was a child and it has taken a lot of care and time to keep it looking good. Since I've been ill it has become dry and dull and has thinned, all probably down to the medication I've had to take. I'm finding that I don't have the time or the patience I once had to give it weekly hair packs or sit around while various serums work. I don't want to go short, short, I couldn't cope with the shock but certainly shoulder length or slightly longer is a very real possibility. My problem is finding a hairdresser I can trust. I've only been to a hair dresser maybe three times in the last five years after one scissor happy moron decided an inch meant a foot and added layers I didn't want. All I want is a hairdresser who can follow instructions and can do just what has been asked of her, no more, no less. However until I find one of these elusive creatures my hair is staying as it is and I will just have to put up with it.

I had the misfortune to watch the parliamentary debate on the riots yesterday afternoon. I have to ask why they bothered to return? I couldn't believe that police are now able to 'request', not demand or order but 'request' that law breakers remove their face masks. What is wrong with these people, do they even live in the real world? And as for having water cannon available 24 hours after any trouble begins, well the words 'horse' and 'stable door' come to mind. Politicians just cannot seem to grasp that when a situation is critical the country needs action not a load of over paid fat cats chatting about it. Thanks to the police things have returned to normal now and they did it without any of Cameron's new measures. What I cannot get my head around is the fact he still wants to cut numbers. Crazy.

I went to my usual Warfarin clinic this afternoon and was delighted to have the opportunity to eavesdrop on a group of four elderly ladies. I would advise anyone who has a long boring wait to sit beside any elderly folk having a chat. It can be extremely entertaining at times. This group seemed to be having a little competition and trying to out do each other in the 'I've had a hard life' category.
"My husband was sixty four when he died, really sudden it was. On minute he was tending his peonies and the next I was calling an ambulance."
"Mine died at fifty four, he worked for the film industry and was on his way to Snetterton when he got caught up in a pile up on the motorway."
"Oh he was in films then, was he an actor?"
"No, no he arranged things, I'm not sure what, it was so long ago."
They fell silent for a while digesting this peace of information, one seemed to actually fall asleep then we were off again only this time the subject was 'who is the oldest'.
"I'll be eighty seven next week, my son's bringing the family round for the day." I looked at her in astonishment I'd put them all at seventy or under.
"Oh your very good for eighty seven." Grace nudges the sleeping one and raises her voice, "isn't Maisie good for eighty seven?" Little Miss Dozy nods vigorously and promptly goes back to sleep.
"Well I was born in 1917," announces Grace. I have trouble stopping my jaw from hitting the floor, a quick calculation makes her ninety three. This woman is bright eyed, intelligent and sprightly and frankly seems in better nick than I am.
 "Oh 1917, you are doing well."
"Yes and I still clean my house and do all my own cooking." Silence falls again, that round has comprehensively been won at which point my name is called. After all the bad press regarding care homes and portraying the elderly as dribbling shells it was a delight to see four such feisty women obviously still enjoying the simple pleasures in life such as a good gossip.

I had no problems at the clinic today, which is a blessing as I am feeling a little under the weather. Although the sickness hasn't returned I have a distinct wobble in the stomach and I'm off my food again. I will stick to my guns though and hope things improve over the next day or two. I have to come off the damned anti sickness tablets sooner or later and if this is as bad as it gets then I can just about put up with it.

Although not actually raining today it was dull and damp and I just didn't feel up to going out so it was an afternoon on the sofa with Red Dwarf series four. Please, please, please let things be better tomorrow. 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

How Sweet To Be An Idiot.

Three reports caught my eye on the news yesterday.

The first was a video of police in full riot gear laying in to three looters. This video has enraged some parts of the community who are complaining that they were too heavy handed. Well sorry if this offends but I don't think they went far enough. What really makes me angry is that there is now an investigation into these officers actions and no doubt we will soon be hearing that the officers concerned will be disciplined for what they have done. It is no wonder then that the police were seen hanging back and not doing anything during the first couple of nights rioting. They were scared, not of the thugs but of their bosses and the human rights brigade. They know that if they did fight fire with fire they would probably end up being suspended from their jobs or worse end up with a criminal record and no job. Of course the police should in normal situations act with restraint but these are not normal times and if a bit of thuggery is what it takes to remove the louts from our streets then so be it. I do hope that Cameron and his parliamentary cronies grow spines and remove the wishy washy liberal chains that have tied up our police forces and let the authorities get control back without fear of being prosecuted for doing their jobs.

The second report was an interview with a lout who was busy mouthing off about the Polish taking all the jobs. The thug was barely articulate with every other word being a profanity. When the reporter pointed out that he was destroying his own changes of getting a job by targeting local businesses  this idiots muttered something unintelligible and walked away. I would just love to know how many jobs he has actually applied for, my betting is none. I'm also willing to bet that judging by the obvious lack of intelligence the only job he is capable of doing would be beneath his dignity. What many of these people do not realise is that it is their refusal to do jobs such a cleaning, building or collecting rubbish that has lead to firms being forced to employ foreign workers. I have been without a 'good' job on a couple of occasions during my working life but rather than draw benefits I cleaned the local pub because I was brought up to believe being on benefits was the very last resort not a way life.

The third and possible the most shocking was what I can only describe as a 'slummy mummy' berating some poor man who had pointed out that being bored and not having a job was no excuse. Before he made the comment, he probably almost instantly wished he hadn't, this woman was giving a reporter the benefit of her wisdom and explaining that 'the kids around here have nothing'. How the reporter managed to control himself enough not to shoot back 'well they have even less now' I don't know. In front of her kids, well I'm assuming the mouthy one was hers, she argued 'was it right that someone was shot in London for nothing?' Obviously not one for getting her facts right, he was waving a gun around and at the time was suspected of shooting at a police officer. She then repeatedly asked the man who had intervened if he had kids. In her mind the only people entitled to an opinion were those that did. Nowhere during the interview did she utter one word of condemnation. It is easy to see where the kids get their attitudes with parents like this.

On the plus side of yesterday's news I couldn't help but admire the man whose son had been run over and killed protecting his business. He repeatedly asked for calm and pleaded that there be no revenge attacks. He was dignified, intelligent and had better English skills that either of the other two home grown morons I've mentioned previously. At damming indictment of our educational, social and moral compasses if ever I saw one.

In other news it rained, damn and blast it, so my chance to potter in the garden was trashed yet again. So the choice I had was ironing or a DVD afternoon, a tricky one. I wanted to get the ironing out of the way because if it is nice on any of my other days off I'd then free to do the gardening, decisions, decisions. In the end I did half the ironing, the important things like Laurence's uniform, and put things like pillow cases and tee shirts back in the airing cupboard for the next rainy day, probably tomorrow.

I'm on my second day with reduced anti sickness treatment and so far so good. It is our 29th wedding anniversary on Saturday and we did think about going out for a meal but Peter has urged caution and we will be going out next week instead, just to be on the safe side. The restaurant we've booked is rather expensive so we'd rather I feel well enough to enjoy it properly, and keep the food down.

I have gained weight over the last few weeks and am now four pounds, or two kilos, heavier. I am still way below my target weight but at least I am finally moving in the right direction. I am eating a lot more but still cannot handle big meals preferring to snack. The trouble is I'm snacking on crap. Crisps, chocolate, sweets, ice cream are all being hovered up. John, my brother, reckons you crave certain foods because your body needs the minerals and vitamins they contain. Obviously my body is craving sugar and fat, I do still eat lots of fruit but given the choice of a punnet of strawberries or a packet of Monster Munch the strawberries lose every time. Hopefully my body will sort itself out in the end and before I start to resemble an elephant.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Here Is The News.

'Is it true?'

These three little words have been the bain of my life today. Although, thankfully, nothing happened in my county overnight the rumours flying around have heightened public fear way out of proportion to what is actually happening. The rumours I've heard to day include....
The Arndale, Primark, Debenhams, the police station, the railway station are on fire.
There are groups of hooded youths roaming around almost every town and village center.
The is going to be a riot at 12, 1, 2, 3, 4.........o'clock.
Hundreds of youths are travelling into the area for a riot.

Thankfully not one of these rumours developed into anything substantial. However there are still messages on Facebook claiming things are happeing or about to happen and others messages trying to arrange things. It may have worked in London but it does not seem to be working here. Sadly there were deaths in other areas last night, let's hope they bring people to their senses and the disturbances stop now. Of course the news channels are still offering blanket covering of events. I'm not sure this is a good thing because I think it encourages competition between the brain dead. 'Oh look their part of the town is on Sky, let's make sure our part is too.' Also there will be those who maybe hadn't thought of causing trouble but having seen it on the TV think it looks like fun and go out to copy what they have seen. I am convinced that without the blanket coverage things would not have got so bad or spread so far.

It had to happen , no sooner do police respond to the accusations that they are not doing enough or acting firmly enough by baton charging groups of youths, than they get accused of now being too heavy handed. Brilliant! Maybe if those making these claims had had their homes or businesses trashed they would change their tune.

Aside from the rioting there was a very sad event last night. The Norman King public house in Dunstable was burnt down. This ancient thatched building dated back to the 1300's and naturally enough was a listed building. Only yesterday I drove past it and thought that I really must find time to pay it a visit as I've always wanted to see inside. Yet another thing I have left too late. When will I learn, if I want to do something I must go and do it sooner rather than later.

It was the last day of my week today and I am so relieved that I made it to the end. There were times when I thought I might not but I started to feel physically better about half way through. Now I don't know if this means the chest infection has finally cleared up or whether the increase in dosage has finally kicked in, probably both but by Tuesday I certainly had a bit more get up and go. Tonight I'm dropping another of the sickness tablets so I'll be down to one a day. So far so good but I'm still carrying them everywhere with me so I can take one at the first sign of trouble. Tomorrow I have absolutely nothing planned so I'm going to have a lazy day. We are all at home so I'm going to cook a nice family meal and if the weather is nice do a bit of pottering in the garden.

Life seems to be on the up again, I just hope this time it stays going up, with no dips.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Anarchy In The UK

OK so I was wrong, it is spreading like the plague. So many cities and towns have had or are preparing for trouble including those in my own county. I watch each new report with a sense of disbelief, horror and sadness. How has it come to this? The original 'riot' was because some low life gangster pulled a gun on police and got shot for his troubles. And of course, rent a mob decided that this was a perfect excuss to do a little looting. Well boo hoo my heart bleeds. I'm fed up with the bleeding heart namby pamby liberals who are busy telling me that these people are angry, misunderstood or just bored. Well I get angry, I'm sometimes misunderstood and am often bored but I don't got round setting fire to things or nicking stuff.

The problem is that there is no real punishment anymore. There have been over five hundred people arrested since Saturday night but how many have been bailed and released only to join in with the next night's rioting? More than anyone would like to admit probably. All police leave has been cancelled, special constables have been called in and there will be around sixteen thousand police officers on duty tonight. However no matter how many there are unless they are allowed to act they will be as ineffectual as sixteen. Human rights has emasculated our police forces to such an extent that they more or less have to police with their hands tied behind their backs. If, for once, the police were allowed to act and use water cannon, or rubber bullets, or lock everyone caught up for at least six months then maybe these scumbags would think twice about going out tonight.

Our Prime Minister has seen fit to cut short his holiday to come back and 'deal' with the situation so naturally we were expecting something effective and dramatic. Once again we were to be disappointed. Mr Cameron, after several hours of discussion, came to the conclusion that the best way to tackle the mayhem is to recall parliment on Thursday so that they can debate the situation. So in other words the only action our leaders are going to take is to talk about it. Fat lot of good that is going to do. That is going to help the people who are going to lose their homes, businesses and possible lives tonight isn't it. Hopeless!

I work for the police and am so proud of the men and women who are my colleagues. They are constantly abused in one way or another and have to go about their business with little or no support from the general public for whom nothing they do is ever good enough. Today we were kept busy trying to reassure worried people and console those who had already fallen victims of these disturbances. If we were not doing that then we were building up information on what could possible happen in the coming days, most of it is rumour and conjecture but if only half of what we have been told takes place it will be a disaster. Inbetween all this mayhem we were still expected to attend the day to day incidents such as road traffic collisions, sudden deaths and missing children. The thin blue line has alway been stretched and no more so than at present when so many officers are losing their jobs. It is also times like this that will show our leaders what fools they are to take away the forces ability to work effectively. Let's hope that if any good come out of this it is the reversal of one of the worst decisions of the century.

If I was in charge all officers would be issued with machine guns and instructed to fire at will. Some will say that this attitude is decending to their level but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and if this is the only language these people understand so be it.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Nothing Comes Easy

Why is it so hard to work at the moment, it never used to be. I used to be able to manage a ten hour shift like a breeze but at the moment six hours and I'm shattered. Well not even six hours, by four I was yawning fit to bust and would have done anything for a ten minute nap. What is going on? I'm supposed to be more energetic not less. Maybe it is because I've had a rough time of it, maybe it is going to take a long time, maybe I'll never be as well as I was, nooooo! I've been told that if I need extra breaks to take them but I know if I went to sit down I'd be snoring in no time and what sort of impression would that give? The sleeping that is, not the snoring. I've read the leaflet inside my anti sickness tablets because I know that some can cause drowsiness but sadly this isn't one of them. 'Will not cause sleepiness or impair ability to drive or operate machinery', it says, so there goes that excuse. I am due to start coming off them on Wednesday so I wonder if my energy levels will pick up then. If I do then I'll know the cause despite what it says on the packet. I did have a better night last night though, no blogging in the wee small hours, and did manage to stay conscious on arrival home so maybe I'm not quite as bad as I was yesterday.

As predicted there has been a spate of copy cat 'riots', or looting to give it its proper title, following the unrest in Tottenham. If these people put as much energy into finding and keeping a job as they do causing trouble the country would be a much nicer place. Unfortunately most of them share a brain cell so haven't thought of that. My newspaper had an outraged headline that one of the leading officers of the met had flown out of the country on holiday only 'hours' before the trouble started. So are policemen supposed to be psychic now? And if he could predict what was about to happen would his staying at home made a blind bit of difference? No of course not. There has also been much criticism about our political leaders also being away on holiday. As most of the time the general opinion is that the country runs better when they are not around, why the problem with them being away now? As I said yesterday some people are never happy. There are rumours that these 'riots' are spreading further north and will hit most of our major northern cities by the end of the week, what do they think this is the plague? I despair at the idiocy of my fellow man sometimes.

Laurence is grumpy. He has been awake now for twenty six hours choosing to go cold turkey to get used to sleeping at night and being awake during the day again. By six this evening he could hardly put one foot in front of the other and by seven he gave in and sloped off to bed. He will probably be awake early tomorrow but at least he will be back on track.

Andrew is also grumpy because his karate club has been cancelled tonight. This often happens during the summer because people go on holiday.

Peter is in a good mood and has had a very happy day of tinkering on his car. What is it with men that even when something is working well they have to take it apart to try and make it work better? Do they like making extra work for themselves or something? He tells me what he is doing and why but frankly I rarely understand what it is he is doing.

I am grumpy because I'm in pain. I must have slept awkwardly last night and have twisted my shoulder. It is too hot to put a hot water bottle on it to relax the muscles so I'm going to have a soak in the bath later in the hope it will have the duel effect of easing the pain and sending me off to sleep. So tonight I have planned bath, hot chocolate and bed, hopefully all before ten, Here's hoping.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I Predict A Riot

I am typing this bit of my blog at three o'clock in the morning. As usual I am unable to sleep before my first day back at work. At the moment I am not even tired and rather than risk waking Peter with my constant wriggling I've come downstairs and made myself a cuppa. I'm not particularly worried as I've always been like this and know that tomorrow night I will go out like a light. I've been watching the horrible events unfold in Tottenham on Sky News with the sound off. I don't need to have some 'expert' wittering away to see what is happening. I don't understand why people do this sort of thing. Can't they see they are damaging their own community? Don't they realise it will be paid for by their council taxes going up next year? I'm willing to bet that if they do realise these things they just don't care because it has all the hallmarks of rent-a-mob and most of the rioters don't live there anyway. Oh hum, I've just yawned so it's time to hit the hay and hope that this time I get some snoozing done.

Oh it was so hard to get up this morning, yes I know, my own fault but after a shower I felt much better and settled down to breakfast whilst catching up on the news. The damage is unbelievable and is is a wonder no one was killed. These people are morons. As is always the case the police cannot do right for doing wrong. They have been accused of not being prepared, not having enough officers on duty and not controlling the mob. Excuse me but last time there was a riot, the so called 'student' protests, they were condemned for controlling the mob and being too 'heavy handed', no doubt by the same people complaining today that they didn't round people up and arrest them. As for not being prepared, they were prepared for a small local, peaceful protest arranged by the local people, how can anyone be prepared for the numbers that arrived from outside the area to do a little robbing and burning? I really don't understand this country sometimes, maybe if those moaning checked where their children were from time to time there wouldn't be so much trouble. It is shocking to find out that ten year olds were amongst those looting and throwing stones at police. How can a ten year old be wandering the streets at eleven thirty at night on their own?

Work was ok, thankfully being a Sunday it was quiet so I was able to ease myself back in. Even so I found the going tougher today than I expected. The first four hours were fine but the last two I really struggled. Driving home I was all but falling asleep. After a quick snack I settled on the settee intending to catch up with the news only to wake up two hours later by Tarmac trying to get comfortable on my lap. I just hope I can sleep tonight now.

It is Laurence's last night duty and he is looking forward to a few days off. He finds the last few nights very hard as the tiredness takes over. No doubt by Wednesday he will be back at the gym and running around sorting stuff out for his house, sometimes I envy the recovery powers of the young.

Out of the blue we had some sort of squall around five this afternoon. The sky went black and a ferocious wind got up blowing the sliver birch almost horizontal then a huge clap of thunder and the rain came down in buckets. Both cats scrabbled for cover under the coffee table for once united in their desire to hide. Then ten minutes later it was all over. I did a quick tour of the garden to check for damage and found one of my tomato plants had been snapped in half. The weight of the tomatoes coupled with the strong wind was obviously too much for it. I still have loads of tomatoes left but it is a sad blow.

An early bedtime tonight with a cup of hot chocolate and cinnamon, with a little bit of luck tomorrow will not be so hard. 

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Help Me If You Can, I'm Feeling Down

I decided to have a quiet day today, resting in preparation to returning to work tomorrow. I am feeling better but still have the occasional vomiting session. I had one again last night but thankfully it was over really quickly. I'm trying to work out why I am only having these bouts at night but still haven't managed to figure it out, maybe I'm eating something that disagrees with me or maybe it's because I've not eaten. Arrgghhh it is so frustrating and I wish it would just go away. On the plus side my chest has improved and my cough start this morning was almost non existent so I'm hoping things in this area have now settled back down.

There have been a couple of discussions on the PH forums recently that I'd like to share with a wider audience.

The first discussion centers around the depression and despair that accompanies a diagnoses of PH. A member has been going through a bad patch lately and admitted that on occasions he wishes he could just die. I defy anyone with a serious illness to say they have not felt like that at some point or other. Everyone with a terminal illness is entitled to feel down from time to time, it is part of the process of coming to terms and coping with the condition. And it is immensely difficult to be happy when you are in pain or things are going wrong. There have been many times over the last few months when I've gone to sleep and hoped not to wake up, I know that sounds awful and of course now I can't believe I'd got that low but it happens. It is so difficult to explain to those who are not suffering, no matter how sympathetic or close they are they can't possibly image how it feels to be so ill. Even the health professionals who know all the ins and outs of the illness and can predict the path and outcome will not know how it actually feels. And of course we, the suffers are partly to blame. We cover up how we feel, when asked how we are we always reply 'fine' and we do our crying in private. We go out of our way to hide our suffering from family and friends because we don't want to be an embarrassment, a burden but mostly because we don't want to see anyone upset on our behalf. However when we can no longer control our feelings and we do break down in public, that is when you find out who really cares. It is the nurse who puts her arm around you and allows you to blub down her uniform, the friend who does your shopping for you and returns with flowers and the relative who goes out and buys a box of tissues, a large bar of chocolate and then sits on the settee watching all your favourite soppy films with you, handing you the tissues one by one. So I would say to anyone in the depths of despair, don't play the hero, you are not expected to. Let someone know how you are feeling and let them help you, you will feel so much better for it.And remember for every low there is a high, karma.

The second story requires little comment from me, please just read it. Originally found in the Guardian but copied here from the PH website, thank guys.

... Larry Newman attended a work capability assessment in March 2010, when a degenerative lung condition made it impossible for him to go on working in the wood veneer showroom where he had spent much of his career. His weight had dropped from 10 to seven stone, and he had trouble breathing and walking.

The Atos staff member who carried out the medical test awarded him zero points. To qualify for employment and support allowance, the new sickness benefit, he needed to score 15 points, and in July he received a letter from jobcentre officials stating that he was not eligible for the benefit (worth around £95 a week) and would be fit to return to work within three months.

He was devastated by the decision, and dismayed to note a number of inaccuracies in the report that accompanied the letter. He decided to appeal against the decision, but before three months was up he died from his lung problems.

His widow, Sylvia Newman, recalls that one of the last things he said to her, as doctors put him on a ventilator, was: "It's a good job I'm fit for work." He was trying to make her laugh, she says, but it was also a reflection of how upset he had been by the conclusion of the medical test.

"He was so hurt by it. It made him so upset that they thought he was lying, and he wasn't," she says. "I think it added to him just giving up."

All I can say is I hope the civil servant responsible for that can live with themselves, sadly I think stories like that will soon become the norm, while the feckless and dishonest will continue to be given handouts. It's a mad, sad world we live in.

In other news, Laurence has had the survey on his house done and everything is fine. He is hiring a van next week and he and Peter are off to collect the furniture that my brother offered him from the house sale. It still feels unreal to me and I still can't believe he is leaving. Judging by what is happening in the financial markets he got his mortgage just in time because if things go the way they are predicting no one will be getting loans of any kind for sometime.

Andrew has now got two jobs, I was unaware that I had bred a little Alan Sugar. I am a bit worried that his studies will suffer but this second job is only a couple of hours one day a week delivering the local Sunday paper.

And so another week passes in the Roberts household, what will next week bring? I dread to think. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Telephone Line

Since when has throwing a custard pie at someone become assault? As it emerges that Fiona Bruce has become the second famous person to be pied in the last month I have to ask what has happened to the great British sense of humour? OK having a pie in the face isn't pleasant, no doubt the foam (because that is what it is, usually on a paper plate) can sting if it gets in the eyes and probably tastes foul, but assault? Come on! The only thing that has been hurt is the pride. If Fiona had just laughed it off instead of calling the police and having people arrested she'd have come out of the whole episode looking a lot better than the humourlous woman she obviously is. As for Robert Murdoch, well it was the least he deserved.

And as I am having a go at the famous, what the hell happened to Shane Warne? When I saw him in the papers I just could not believe Mr Plastic Fantastic was the same person. Does he really think he looks better? Does anyone think he looks better? OK yes he was a bit on the heavy side so a diet would never do much harm but what happened to the face, the hair, the clothes? He seems to have so much botox in his system that he can't move his face at all. Even if he could I doubt he would be able to smile because for someone to change that much must mean either he was really miserable as he was (no evidence of that) or he is really miserable now and is going to extreme lengths to please someone. And we all know who that is. Why do some women do this? They fall in love with the rough and ready then set about changing him, once they have achieved their goal they realise they preferred him as his was an promptly dump him for another rough and ready. By all means correct the nastier of his habits and subtly update his wardrobe from time to time but don't turn him into a shop dummy, neither of you will be happy.

Apologies for what is about to follow but it is necessary in order to explain things.

'Fuck off and die!' Those are the words that aroused me from my slumbers this morning. For the last five days we have been targeted by scammers and Peter is reaching the end of his tether. At the moment we are getting up to five calls a day, always from an Indian 'gentleman' with such bad English that he is only just capable of reading the prepared script he's been given. They have started early today, which is a bad sign. Today's caller claimed to be from Microsoft who have identified a problem with our computer (we have nine computers) and after the caller seemed unable to grasp this. even after being told several times, he was told to be on his way. When they first started calling on Monday, Peter, who knows a thing or two about computers, took great pleasure in blinding them with science. He even went through the procedure they asked him to do and was amused at the rising excitement in the voice on the phone as the caller obviously thought they were on their way to our bank account. What the caller didn't know was that Peter was only pretending as he knows which screen each command would take him too. As the calls have continued through the week the joy of winding someone up has turned to irritation and now we are at the 'swearing at them' stage. If I answer the phone to them I just hang straight up, saves time and energy.

Today was the day for my call from Healthcare At Home to do a stock check. We counted everything up last night and wrote the figures on the sheet they gave us ready for the big event. Our stock levels have reached more manageable proportions now and we can fit everything in the wall cupboard of the bedroom. We are still massively overstocked on some items while with other things we have enough to last until delivery with a few to spare for emergencies. No doubt another month or two and things will sort themselves out. Can you believe I've been on this stuff for two months now? And I'm still no where near the full dose.

Saw a hedgehog scuttling across the lawn last night, my garden is wonderfully free of slugs and snails this year so I'm hoping he intends sticking around. My tomatoes are now the size of golf balls but are still very green, only a couple more weeks and yum, yum! 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Toys In The Attic

Well got my wish and it is raining, sorry sun lovers. I knew there had been a change in the weather the moment I woke up because I wasn't gasping for air. I'd also had an uninterrupted night's sleep so it is little wonder that I'm feeling better today. It could be the meds, it could be the weather but is more likely to be a combination of both.

There is a big row brewing this morning over the sale of a doll that breast feeds. The majority of posters seem to think this is going too far and that little girls shouldn't be exposed to things like this. OK, I can, in some ways, see their argument but is it really any different to those dolls already on the market with obvious differences between male and female organs or those that poo and pee? Even I remember my Tiny Tears doll which cried and wet it's nappy after having a bottle of water squeezed, at some speed it has to be said, into the little 'o' that passed as a mouth. My mother hated it, not because of any dislike for natural functions but because I and everything around me was permanently damp. It wasn't long before I 'lost' the feeding bottle and subsequently lost interest in the doll. It was inevitable that manufacturers would sooner or later go up a level and produce a breast feeding Barbie. I expect they have been spurred on by the breast feeding fascists that seem to appear these days before the test is even dry. And before anyone asks yes I did breast feed my two so don't have a problem with it, I just have a problem with those who think it is their right to guilt trip everyone to their way of thinking. I fully expect this group to be delighted with the move and see it as some sort of educational tool for the under fives.However the way this doll works will only serve to add more confusion as instead of breasts this doll has some sort of bib with nipples, what on earth were they thinking? Which muppet thought this one up and have they ever seen anyone breast feeding? In the end this doll will only succeed if there are enough idiotic parents out there who think it is ok for their youngsters to learn about breast feeding in this way. However a word of warning to anyone thinking of going down this route. When I was six I asked my mother how babies were born she told me they came out of your bottom. I spent years trying to work out how you knew it was a baby coming out and not something else. Honesty with your children really is the best policy, always.

Taking advantage of the cooler weather and improvement in health I decided to venture out this afternoon and promptly missed my footing, landing heavily on my hip. I am fine but will have yet another bruise to add to the collection. Arrived at the shops feeling a little tender but managed to make my way around wuithout the use of a wheelchair so felt really pleased with myself. I bought an enormous bag of liqourice, one of the few sweets I know will not be nicked and a box of ice lollies to help with a very dry mouth. I don't know why I've developed this, I suspect it is another thing related to the drug increase or my infection. I have had it before on and off and always found ice to be the answer, so why not have a bit of flavour with it.

Andrew went out for a bike ride and came back soaked, not from the rain but because the pipe of his water bag became detached and the bag had emptied itself down his back. He was not happy.

Laurence is still managing to sleep the day away. This time through a faulty car alarm and the next door neighbours but one having cavity wall insulation installed.  He was just the same as a baby, I could happily vacumn under his cot and he wouldn't move.

Tomorrow is supposed to be dry and sunny but cool, excellent news, something to please everyone at last. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

So Bring On The Rain And Bring On The Thunder

Wouldn't you know it! Just when you announce something has improved it comes right back at you and slaps you in the face. Yes last night the sickness erupted like Etna and I spent an unhappy couple of hours in the loo before the tablets kicked in and things started to get back to normal. It was my own fault though, with everything else that was going on yesterday I completely forgot to take my midday dose so by nine in the evening, an hour before my last dose of the day, I was reminded of this error in the most spectacular style. I will not be making that mistake again. Still it answered the question 'is it too soon to start cutting down on the anti sickness tabs?' Yes!

Dare I say that my infection seems to be getting better? Finding it much easier to breath and coughing a lot less so fingers crossed that something is going right.

We finally had our thunderstorm this afternoon, a whole ten minutes of it, then it cleared and the sun came out and, if possible, it was hotter than ever. By four o'clock my little weather station was saying that the humidity had risen to 85% with a temperature of 28c and I was once again prostrate in front of the fan. By five the sky was darkening and the atmosphere was heavy and everywhere was silent. Even the birds stopped singing. And so we waited for the next installment, and we waited, and we waited then the sun came out and the temprature continued to rise. With a little bit of luck we might get another tonight because at the moment it is like a sauna in my bedroom.

Tarmac was supposed to go to the vet today but had gone into hiding due to the storm and by the time I found him I'd missed his appointment. Another attempt will be made tomorrow.

Andrew made some muffins, still hasn't got the hang of 'subtle' when it comes to flavourings but he is getting better and at least they come out light and fluffy. He decided to go out biking this evening, I cannot conceive having the energy to do anything so physical in this heat but he was sensible and took his water back pack, covered himself in sun cream and wore glasses and his helmet. I am so pleased that neither of my boys have ever needed encouragement when it comes to exercise. Laurence is at the gym every day when not working, even calling in on his way home when working half days while Andrew bikes, runs and attends his karate classes.

Laurence slept through everything today, vaguely remembers a clap of thunder but nothing else. I am so relieved he is managing to get a good sleep in all this heat.  I did have to stop the window cleaner from doing his windows though, lucky I caught him before he put his ladders up.

Whenever we get a thunderstorm, no matter how short, we have a power cut or our Internet goes down or both. Today is was the Internet but only for around and hour. No doubt if we have a storm in the dark we will lose the electiricity, always the way. So if I don't post tomorrow you'll know that I got my wish and it knocked out the whole village.