Friday, 30 September 2011

All Summer Long

Had a lovely gossip with my Neighbour Ron this morning. Ron had a heart attack last year and is making big strides back to health. He walks every day for at least thirty minutes and is looking well on it. Subjects covered this morning included the state of parking in the road outside, the speed of traffic and his latest holiday plans. We must have been out there at least an hour and it really cheered me up, another benefit of having nice weather.

This afternoon we gritted our teeth and went out to the shops as we were running low on milk, bread and butter. it was a quick trip but it got me out of the house. When we got home we just sat in the garden with the Pimms bottle and just talked and chilled, it was lovely. It was really hot later in the afternoon so I retreated indoors and hid in the living room with the curtains drawn and the windows open. As much as I like the nice weather I just wish it liked me more.

My sister had Pneumonia but is back home and feeling a lot better, thank goodness, one good thing that has come of this episode is it has made her realise how weak not eating has made her and she has vowed to change things around. The family couldn't be more delighted. It is just a pity she had to become so ill in order for the penny to drop.  Still it has happened and that is the main thing.

Andrew made muffins for tea and very nice they were to until you came to the salt. He didn't say anything but he might have either mistaken salt for sugar or just put too much in. He thinks he just didn't mix it in properly, maybe he's right. Whatever I don't think he'll be making that mistake again, at least I hope not.

Hope I have a better night tonight, it was so hot last night and we were both wide awake at two this morning but at least it wasn't my cough keeping us up for a change.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Temperature's Rising

Started the day off with a three hour long power cut, whoop-de-do! It was really weird because the power only seemed to drain away rather than go off completely. Some items worked and some didn't, then it gave up the fight and everything went off. As everyone was out there was nothing for it than a nice soak in a bath bomb until I was able to use the computer. We rarely get power cuts and as there are a lot of road works around us where they are modifying junction twelve of the M1 we could only conclude someone had cut through something.

It was drug count day today and I still gasp when we get everything out of the cupboards. There's stacks of stuff and this is when we are supposed to be running low. We've got the count down to a fine art now so it was all done and dusted within ten minutes and everything was packed away again.

Saw my GP, the infection has gone, yay! However he doesn't think I'm ready to go back yet so it is another week off work. He's also insisting that I have the flu jab before I go back so that is booked in for Wednesday. Talking of flu Laurence has rallied and is back at work, so obviously not flu, man or otherwise.

Mad panic this afternoon when both Peter and Andrew realised their vehicle tax is due tomorrow. Thank goodness it can be done online these days.

Got notification of the automatic renewal of my prepaid prescription card today. How does this work? My card expires on the 5th October. The payment will be removed from my account on the 11th of October. My card will be issued between five and ten days after the payment. So in other words I'd better not need any meds between the fifth and the twenty fifth. And I thought buying it online would save me time, effort and stress. In effect I am paying for a fortnight when I won't have a card, very efficient!

Walked upstairs this afternoon to find both cats stretched out on the bed in a patch of sunlight. They are very confused as they are already shedding ready for their winter coats, I hope this doesn't send them in to overdrive and they start shedding faster, I can barely keep up as it is.

The weather has been glorious but far to hot for Peter to complete the car, he had a touch of heat stroke after working all afternoon yesterday so doesn't want to repeat the experience. He has sensibly decided to wait until tomorrow morning and do it then before the full heat of the day hits. He hasn't much to do and says it should only take about an hour so he is pretty frustrated but I don't want him ill so have advised caution.

Had a call from the Brompton to tell me I have cleared yet another hurdle on the road to transplant. They are also keen to get on top of my current breathing problems and the only way to do this is to increase the dose. So the new plan is to increase my anti sickness drugs first then increase my drug dose. Whether it will work who knows but I'm desperate now so am willing to go alone with anything. Lets hope it doesn't set my return to work back again.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

It's a day of illness today. First Laurence arrives home with man flu. He is really poorly but instead of being sympathetic I've had to tell him to stay away from me as I cannot afford to catch anything else. Then I find that my sister was rushed to A & E last night after her chest infection took a turn for the worst. Wendy is a severe asthmatic so I'm guessing the infection set her off and she needed help. I haven't spoken to her yet but will call her in a day or two when hopefully she will be feeling a bit better.

Laurence had a long conversation with the estate agents this afternoon and some alarming news has come to light. The 'doing the house up a bit' turns out to be replacing wood riddled with damp and rebuilding a defective chimney.  Sounds like the sellers have bought a dump. The trouble is there is no way all this is going to be done in six weeks so Laurence is looking at a Christmas move if he's lucky. Hr is seriously considering pulling out but that means losing eight hundred pounds in solicitors fees etc so he doesn't quite know what to do. I think the sellers have been very unfair with him because they knew about this before they went on holiday but just kept Laurence hanging. I know what I would do but at the end of the day he is going to have to make the decision for himself. In the meantime we are going to have to get used to living in a furniture shop for a little bit longer. Laurence also managed to speak to his solicitor who also had not been informed of the delay and in Laurence's words was 'a bit surprised'. She is going to ring the sellers solicitors and see if she can get anymore information for Laurence. Nothing is ever easy is it.

Peter decided to bite the bullet and replace the cam belt on my car this afternoon. He loves tinkering and is good at it but the thumps and crashes coming from the driveway did not inspire confidence. The job has turned out to be more involved than he thought and will have to be completed tomorrow now as the light eventually gave up on him.

Andrew did his first few hours at his new job today and seems to have got on quite well. I hope it works out better than the last job which sort of mucked him about a bit and never paid what they'd advertised.

Fed up of just sitting around I donned my oxygen and steam cleaned the settee. I've been wedded to it these last few weeks so felt it needed a spruce up. I did quite well and didn't get that out of puff. It is back to the GP tomorrow for another, and hopefully my last, sick note. If the GP can confirm the infection has gone I'll feel more relaxed knowing I've just got to wait for my lungs to settle down again. May go out with the camera tomorrow depending on what the doc says but at least I am feeling better. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Good Day Sunshine

Well it was Warfarin clinic day today and as always it brought much interest for a nosy person like myself. I wheezed in carrying my pump and oxygen but did not cause as much of a stir as last week as most of the regulars had seen me last week. There was no issue over seating as there were only half the people this week. I was delighted to be able to find a seat behind Grace and her budddies so settled down for a good evesdrop. Their topic this week, almost inevitably, was the weather.
"Oh isn't it lovely today."
"So hot almost like June." A chorus of agreement greeted this statement then all went quiet while they comtemplated what had been said. Then one of them brightened and lauched into a suprising revelation. The names are those I've given them for clarity.
Betty: I heard on the radio this morning that it is going to snow in October."
Grace: "Don't be rediculous, it can't snow so early."
Betty: "Well that's what the man said."
Susan: "Was it a BBC man?"
Betty: "I think so."
Susan: "Well if it was one of the local ones I wouldn't take any notice. They never get it right."
Grace: "That's right, it rained yesterday and they never mentioned that."
Betty: "I'm sure it was the BBC, they said end of October, maybe early November."
Grace: "Oh well if it's that late I suppose it could, I thought you meant next week."
Betty: Is it October next week?"
Grace: "Of course it is."
Susan: "I'd better get my winter draws out." At which point they started laughing and my name got called. Bless them!

I had a new nurse today who looked the spitting image of Cheryl Ferguson (Heather from Eastenders). The likeness was uncanny but I didn't dare ask her because I didn't know how she'd take it and I didn't want to get stabbed. She was very good but couldn't stop me bleeding so we sat for ages with her pressing my arm until the flow stopped. The temptation to say something was almost overwhelming but I did manage to make it out with my mouth shut.

It was then off to Tesco's to pick up some more fruit and crisps. I cut my losses and borrowed a scooter which either went fast or not at all. I managed to get around without knocking anything over or killing anyone so I was quite pleased with myself. I casn honestly say I felt better than I did last week but going out has highlighted how far I've still got to go. I'm thinking of going back to the GP tomorrow to see if the infection has really cleared or whether I need another dose of antibiotics.

Laurence was starting work late today so rang the estate agent this morning before going in and laid it on the line. Either they complete in two weeks or he will go elsewhere. I think he's got to be tough because I think the sellers are quitely likely to keep messing him about. There is nothing to say that when they reach November they then decide they want to wait until December. Best for him to cut his losses now than two months down the line. We are now all waiting anxiously to see what comes back after this ultimatum.

Andrew got his first birthday card today from the neighbour who will be away when he actually turns eighteen next week. He is all smiles today having sorted out his insurance and got a new job that pays him more than the old job. Thank goodness for that. An upset Andrew is something to behold and very difficult to live with.

I managed to enjoy a bit of the good weather by sitting on the pation with a good book and an ice cold drink. I ventured up to the tomato plants and picked fourteen lovely ripe tomatoes. Obviously they work on the 'watched pot' principle and as soon as I stopped caring they bloomed. So tonight it will be lovely fresh bread, strong cheese and home grown tomatoes. What more can a girl want? Only the small bar of Aero chocolate that I got for a treat tonight. Happy days!

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part


Today has been a good day all in all. I woke late having slept right through the night. Then I made a Cannelloni for lunch and managed to eat some of it. I weighed myself today and the good news is I've stopped losing weight. The bad news is that I havent put anymore on but it is a start. Maybe next week will see a rise. In the afternoon I settled down to watch the Grand Prix and fell asleep halfway through, it seems the more sleep I get the more I need. My improvement continues and I'm a lot less breathless but a long way from being fit. It will take time I guess but how much is the question I need to be asking myself.

Great excitement was caused by an e-mail arriving from Amazon to say my second book 'It's Worse When They Like You' will be published tomorrow. It contains stories from my teaching days and some of the profits will be going to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.


The excitement this afternoon was provided by a call from the estate agents regarding Laurence's house buy. As we suspected the sellers want to delay because they want to 'do up' the house they are moving into first. They have suggested mid November which is totally unacceptable as far a we are concerned. Laurence is far from happy and has pointed out that he could probably buy a house and move in in the time they want to wait. The estate agent is going back to the sellers with the advice to exchange or lose the sale.

We have been plagued by phone calls today, all from idiots claiming to be who they are not. I had fun with a couple first by saying that Mrs Roberts had moved out, this threw them for a second and then they tried to find out who I was. The second bit of fun came by pretending they had got through to the police, I've never heard a phone slam down so fast. We got no calls after that little lie so that is one to remember. Hopefully we have now been scratched off at least one list.

Andrew has been fighting a battle of his own today. He has been getting quotes to renew his bike insurance. He nearly had a fit when the insurers he used last year quoted him two thousand pounds to renew, he is currently paying five fifty. I advised he phone them, which he did, and after some discussion got a quote of five seventeen, proving it is good to talk. Still exhortionate when you think I insurer my two litre, Afla Romeo for little more than three hundred and that is worth about three times the cost of his bike. Remarkably the benefit of having a full bike license is minimal and would only knock twenty pounds of the quote so Andrew has decided to try again in November and get a couple of lessons in beforehand. Sensible kid, don't know where he gets it from.

It is Warfarin day tomorrow and I'm hoping it will be one I can attend minus my oxygen. I just hope it isn't as busy as it was last week. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

When We Go Shopping

Well today was retail therapy day and I really pushed to boat out spending a grand total of one pound. Pathetic isn't it. I am hopeless when it comes to spending money, I can never find anything I really want. All I bought was some incense, which I love, and that was it. The afternoon did not get off to a good start when the scooter I was given ran out of power within a couple of hundred meters from the shop. I had to be pushed back to change it. That problem solved we set out with high hopes but it was so busy. I kept having to stop and start and was walked into at least twice despite my best efforts. We escaped by going out into the market, which is where I found the incense, and were able to have a good browse. Still the trip achieved it's aim and I had a really good time and came home with a huge smile on my face and feeling a lot better in myself.

Watching the Grand Prix qualifying on our return when Peter had a little mishap. He had just taken a mouthful of coffee when he sneezed sending coffee right across the room. We ended up steaming the settee, mopping the floor and polishing the coffee table. At least we don't have to do it tomorrow now.

Tea brought a new revelation, Tarmac likes Marmite. I dropped a piece of sandwich and he was on it in a flash. Not only did he gobble it up but he demanded more. Yet another reason for me not to have a peaceful tea time in future.

Have to say that overall I am feeling more positive today and at last my breathing has improved, yay! Hopefully I really am, finally, on the mend. I've read that we are in for some nice weather this coming week so I'm planning a trip out with the camera and am actually looking forward to something for once. If I continue to imporve I hope to be back at work the week after but I'm not even thingking about that right now. I'm just concentrating on getting well. Work is not my life and can wait.

Tomorrow is my weigh in, if I've just stopped loosing I'll be happy. Will let you know in the next blog.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Well I Was Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

As I felt more or less like crap yesterday, today was also designated a 'do nothing' day but it didn't turn out quite like that. I used the time to research home working and found that the amount of scams out there means it is virtually impossible to find anything real. Everything I looked at demanded money up front and sometimes quite large amounts. It is really scary and I wonder just how many desperate people have been caught out. Luckily for me I am neither desperate or stupid so I gave up and am now contemplating a life of leisure.

Feeling better today I fancied a fry up for lunch and as I'm eating what I fancy at the moment I made eggs, bacon, beans and fried bread. It was delicious but didn't stay down long, even with the sickness tablets. I really do not understand it. Crisps, apples, soup, riveta etc are all fine, anything more substantial is not. I guess it is back to the hospital with that one. I'm weighing myself on Sunday, I do hope it is not bad news.

Months ago I used to buy food from a company called Eismann but they went bust in April so imagine my delight to find they are back under the new name of  Eskimo. Looking through the catalogue I noticed the same products so placed an order for delivery between ten and twelve this morning. The delivery finally arrived at six thirty with three items missing. Teething problems? Possibly, but I don't hold out much hope for their future if they don't get their act together.

I found a load of pictures on my camera that I hadn't uploaded to my Flickr account so spent the afternoon checking them and uploading them. You can view these by following the 'my photos' linkon the right of this post. I really enjoyed it and am hopeful that sometime next week I'll be well enough to go out and do some photography. I can't see it happening at the moment but you never know. Tomorrow Peter is insisting that I go out with him to do a bit of shopping. He thinks it will lift my mood while I'm worried about catching something else. However I've booked a scooter for the afternoon in the hope I will feel up to it. If nothing else maybe a little retail therapy is just what I need. We'll see.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Bits And Pieces

Well after Tuesday I decided that yesterday was going to be a 'do nothing day' hence no blog because there wasn't anything to write about. I'd woken up with a bad back to add to my problems so had spent the day trying to find a comfortable way to sit and who wants to read about that, boring..

Found a flea on Tarmac so both cats promptly got the spot on treatment much to their disgust. I am a magnet to all things bitey so wanted to get them before they got me. I always use the spot on treatment instead of spraying them or forcing tablets down their throats but it is still a two man job. Luckily Laurence was on hand to do the restraining while I did the spotting. Both cats are now sulking and refusing to come anywhere near us but at least they are not scratching.

Someone else sulking is Andrew who failed his test and is very upset about it. It seems he failed for doing twenty five miles per hour in a thirty zone and not looking around enough. He feels this is very unfair and I must say it sounds a bit petty to me but there you go. Now I'm trying to persuade him to re sit as soon as possible. I've offered to pay for it again but at the moment he is reluctant. I guess his pride needs time to heal.

To take his mind off things and cheer him up a bit I let him have a go at preparing my meds last night. He's been badgering me to do it for ages. He wants to put this on his personal statement for uni as he feels saying he helps his disabled mum with complicated drug routines will give him an edge. Fine by me but I wasn't going to let him say it without doing it. As it happens he was very good at it. He handled the syringes better than I do, I think he'll be a natural medic.

Went to my GP and got signed off for another week, to be honest I didn't really think he'd do anything else. Still a bit disappointed though and annoyed with my body for letting me down, again! Started to think that maybe it is time to look at home working rather than goiing out to work but don't know where to start and don't want to get ripped off. When I get a chance I will have to research this and see what's what. I've never worked from home before except for a brief period of tutoring when between teaching jobs. I couldn't tutor again , I'm to out of the loop and to be hoonset I don't want to. I'm looking to do something more creative.

I'm fed up with facebook changing things time and time again so am trying out Google Plus. I will be using both for now so I can compare. Find me by my name and picture, both the same as on facebook. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Manners Maketh The Man

Well it was Warfarin clinic day today and time to give my portable oxygen a proper work out. In keeping with a lot of hospitals even disabled parking spaces are miles from where you want to be. Peter drops me a close as he can get and then goes to find a space and wait for my call to come and pick me up. It was quite difficult juggling my oxygen and my pump but I soon worked out that by wearing the oxygen like a back pack I still had my hands free and everything was easier to carry. Arriving in the clinic I immediately caught the eye of my group of old ladies, unfortunately it was standing room only today and I couldn't get near enough to them to eaves drop. Judging by the looks and nudging I'd at least given them some much needed entertainment. Standing by the wall all hooked up I noticed a family of four sitting together in one row. The kids, aged about two and four were up and down and everywhere but on the seats but when I asked if I could sit I got a firm no, even though there are notices everywhere saying that seating is for those having tests only. When their name was called only the father went in while the mum and kids stayed where they were, so obviously not patients. Why are people so rude and thoughless today? I regularly give my seat up if I see someone less well than me but for this lot even an oxygen tank couldn't persuade them I was more in need. I suppose I could have spoken to the receptionist and made a fuss but what was the point, I doubt it would have made any difference. When  I returned to my wall I notice my old ladies glaring at the family, so my plight had been noticed, I'd have loved to have been in on that conversation also.

Then it was on to Tesco Where I decide to ditch the wheelchair in favour of the oxygen, thinking it would be OK, Big, big mistake. Although I got round, luckily we only had a couple of things to get, Peter had to practically carry me back to the car and I've felt wiped out since coming home. I never learn do I? Just because I feel fine sitting in front of the TV doesn't mean I'm magically better but this little fact constantly evades my brain and I try to do to much. Tomorrow will no doubt involve a lie in and a tired day for my pains.

Laurence is working late today and Andrew only had one lesson so both were home for lunch which I managed to both cook and eat. Brilliant! At least that part of my life seems to be settling down.

There is still no news regarding the sellers so Laurence is a bit frustrated.

Andrew is full of confidence regarding his test tomorrow, I just hope it isn't misplaced. He's off out tonight to karate taking the ride to the venue as a last chance to practise.

Early to be tonight with a good book and a cocoa, is this what my life has become?

Monday, 19 September 2011

Those Cats Were Fast As Lightning

The cats have been in a funny mood today. This morning while I was having a cuppa and reading the paper in bed Smirnoff got up and curled up beside me. It wasn't long before he was snoring, yes Smirnoff really does snore, loudly. Tarmac then got up on the bed and seeing Smirnoff sat and watched for a while, then quick as a flash he bolted across the bed and landed the sleeping Smirnoff a hard smack with his paw on top of the head. A brief tussle ensued before Smirnoff jumped off the bed and Tarmac curled up in the now vacated warm patch. Later today while we were having tea Smirnoff was sitting at the French door watching a pidgeon eating a piece of bread on the lawn. Tarmac then wanders in and goes to sit beside Smirnoff, they touch noses and all seems calm. Suddenly Smirnoff lets lose with a paw and smacks Tarmac firmly between the ears then hisses at him and runs from the room leaving a bewildered Tarmac shaking his head and wondering what just happened. I just hope that if there is a third bout it is not in the middle of the night and doesn't wake me up.

Feeling so much better today so got to go out and do a bit of shopping. Laurence came with us so Peter pushed me and Laurence pushed the trolley. Laurence decided to get a few 'essentials' for his house move. These 'essentials' turned out to be a home head shaver/hair cutter thing, no I don't know either, a toothbrush, torches, smoke alarms and a concrete Welsh dragon called Idwal. Of course we have been expecting the move to take place quite soon but a phone call to  the solicitor to check on progess turned out to be a bit of a shocker. According to the solicitor the sellers are still on holiday, we were told they were back on the fifteen of this month, which was last week. A quick call to the estate agents confirmed what we'd been told as they had been expecting to hear from them also. Someone is telling porkies! The estate agents have promised to investigate but now Laurence is a bit stressed as he is suspicious the seller might be trying to wriggle out of the deal. I hope not as I doubt Laurence will get as good a deal again.

Andrew is home and sulking as his karate club has been cancelled for the third week in a row. The trouble is that there are so few of them in the club that if one can't make it then they have to cancel and since the instructor's death it has been even worse. Andrew has confided in me that he doesn't think the club will last much longer and has now started gto look for another club. I don't rate his chances as it took ages to find this one.

It has been a beautiful if slightly nippy day. I decided to stagger up the garden to see how things were going and was sad to see the cold is already turning the tomatoes black before they even managed to ripen. In desperation I've picked some of the bigger ones to try and ripen them on the windowsill but I don't hold out much hope. The brambles are heavy with fruit so tomorrow if the weather and my body are up to it I'm going to do some picking.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

On A Steel Horse I Ride

What a day, it had drama, stress and laughter.

It was the day of Andrew's practical one test for his motorcycle and he was obviously very nervous. He was up at seven and did the worse possible thing, went on the Internet to read up on tips on how not to fail. Unfortunately along with the tip were the horror stories with people claiming they failed on the stupidist of things and how even wearing the wrong colour of helmet was enough of a reason.

After lunch we drove with him to the test centre. He wasn't sure of the way and it was a chance for me to have another trip out in the car. Having delivered him we then left and made our way home for a nervous wait . So imagine our surprise when ten minutes later Andrew turned up. The examiner had a problem with his footware so sent him home to change saying if he could get back within half an hour he would still be tested. No pressure then. After he left, again, we settled down for another wait and prayed he'd get back in time. An hour and a half later he returned all smiles having passed. Thank heavens for that. Now we have to do it all again on Wednesday when he takes the final part. This is the most expensive part so if he fails that its seventy five pounds down the drain, so again no pressure.

I feel a little better again today and managed to cook and eat a little lunch. Hopefully that means recovery is very close now but who knows, it might just mean I'm having one of my 'good' days. Thoughts have turned to work and I'm hoping that I will be well enough by the end of this week to return. I'm not going to rush things though, if I'm still feeling rough by Thursday then it'll be back to the GP for another sick note. The days of pushing myself are well and truly over.

As I was feeling better I decided to have some crackers with a bit of pate for tea. This is a hazardous past time as Tarmac absolutely loves pate and will do more or less anything to get his paws on it. First we had the circling shark act accompanied by loud mewing. When that didn't work he tried the 'hopping on an empty chair and stretching my neck as far as I can towards the table' technique. Then there was the 'trying to swipe anything moving from plate to mouth out of the owners hands' technique before he used the last bullet in his armoury and sat looking doe eyed and patheticly hungry in front of Andrew. That one worked, it always does and he got his slice of pate then had a quick wash before setting off on his evening walk. Who teaches them this stuff?

Tomorrow promises more excitement with a trip to the GP to discuss my sickness problems and if I'm really lucky a quick push around Tesco. I do live a full on life.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Well I Know I'm Wasting Time

After yesterday's excitement I spent today resting in front of the TV watching a selection of dodgy films that TV companies seem to think pass for Saturday afternoon entertainment. It was either that or football or, heaven forbid, racing. Films all the way, dodgy or not. I decided not to go to the carnival as I was far too tired and the weather couldn't decide what it was going to do.

My drugs actually got delivered but all was not as expected and I'm going to have to make another phone call on Monday to get them to send me more stuff. I'm getting a bit irritated now because we go through this every month. I use three pairs of gloves per day. One for changing my dressing and two pairs for the mixing and prep of the drug itself. So three pairs over say thirty days is ninety pairs, they regularly send me a box of fifty. I think part of the problem is that they insist on ringing to get my stock levels two weeks before they deliver. This would be fine but they seem to forget that in the two weeks between the phone call and the delivery my stock levels will continue to reduce as I'll still be using things. So on Monday I will have to explain all this to the dim girl on the other end of the line who will once again tell me she is making a note of it so I won't have the same problem next time, but she won't and I will.

Andrew has spent the day struggling with an essay, in the end he put it aside and went for a run. He did eventually finish it but not without a fair degree of moaning. I think his mind is on other things though with his bike test tomorrow. He's been out practising but is still very nervous. I'm sure he'll be fine though and if he isn't well there is always next time.

Laurence is working this weekend so I won't see much of him as he usually starts early and finshes late. Today, however, he finished early and rocked up with an ironing board and four garden chairs he'd picked up on the way home. He was also sporting an enormous bump on his forehead after he was assaulted at work. I was naturally horrified but he was quite pleased with himself and said he finally feels like he's part of the team

The day finished on a lovely note with a brilliant, beautiful rainbow spanning our back garden. Just before six it got really dark and started to rain quite heavily. By seven the sun came back out and this wonderful rainbow formed. It was really bright and clear and the best bit is that we could see both ends. Peter managed to get a picture but I was hooked up to my oxygen so by the time I'd unhooked that and gathered my pump up the rainbow was already beginning to fade.

We are going to have a film night today and I've been given the pick this time. I'm going for a comedy, well they do say laughter is the best medicine. 

Friday, 16 September 2011

My Friend The Doctor Said

It was Royal Brompton day and I had the works today, blood tests, ECG, X-ray and a thorough going over by the consultant who admitted to being 'worried' about me. I've lost a stack of weight and am hovering around the 45/46 kilo mark, when I started this treatment I was 54 kilos, I have no idea what these figures are in stones or pounds so don't ask. So the first task was how to stop me vomiting and get me eating again. After a long chat with my palliative care team they rang my GP and had a long conversation with him in the hope that he can monitor me more closely and adjust my sickness tabs as and when I need them. I have an appointment on Monday with my GP to discuss what can be done.

Second on the agenda was my chest infection which has definitely NOT gone away. Apparently my chest sounds absolutely full of gunk and the x-ray showed that both lungs are very infected, but the good news is that it hasn't turned into pneumonia. They have put me on a ten day course of very strong antibiotics which, wait for it, may make me feel sick but I must keep taking them. They wanted to bring me into hospital until the antibiotics kicked in but I refused, I figured I was more likely to pick something else up in hospital than at home. More good news is that the ECG shows that my heart is behaving itself, must be thankful for small mercies.

Then we discussed increasing the dose of Flolan but all present agreed that until they get the sickness under control there would be no point as we all know going beyond the current dose has not gone smoothly up to now. As I am so poorly anyway they decided to give it a miss and will try again once the infection has cleared up and I'm on sickness tablets that actually work. They are thinking that the chest infection may be making the sickness worse so once that clears up I might start feeling better anyway.

Then we came back to the transplant. I get the impression that they are beginning to get concerned that I'll never be able to increase my dose of Flolan and if so then the transplant becomes even more essential as there is nothing else I can try. They are going to contact Harefield next week and discuss my current situation. Whether that will push me further up the list who knows but it is nice to know they are pushing for me even if it does mean they might be beginning to feel they can do no more for me treatment wise. So it's back again in October for another drug increase, let's hope this time it actually works. In the mean time I have to rest, eat little but often to keep my strength up and keep taking the tablets.

When we arrived home we found Andrew sitting in the porch reading, he'd popped home during the day to pick something up and managed to lock himself out. Luckily we were only half an hour behind him so he didn't have to wait long, thank goodness it wasn't cold or raining.

It is the village carnival tomorrow and the weather promises to be foul, which is a pity because I quite fancied getting my camera out and taking some pictures. To be honest it is never very good and as the theme is 'The Olympics' one year early I'm not sure this year is going to be any improvement. However being close to home it would be a good opportunity to get out in the fresh air again.

I've taken my new tablets and am delighted to report that so far there have been no adverse effects, that's a first. Maybe, just maybe this time I can actually get rid of this damned infection and start feeling human again. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

About The TV God And All The Pain That It Invokes

Improvement continues apace and I am constantly amazed at how much difference a good night's sleep makes. I finally got around to weighing myself this morning and was disappointed to find I'd lost all the weight I'd put on plus a bit more. The problem seems to be my inability to eat a proper meal, if I try I'm sick very soon afterwards. Liquids and small snacks are all I can stomach, it is all very strange.

As I was feeling better I got a trip out in the car this morning. Peter had to pick something up from Bedford so I went along for the ride. It was great to be out of the house, apart from the GP, I've been in since last Friday. On the way home Peter took me shopping, he'd brought my wheelchair and pushed me around Tesco so I could pick some bits and pieces I thought I could eat. I chose apples, riveta, yoghurt and of course the every present Complan. I really fancied it all at the time but by the time I got it home I only had eyes for the apples. Never mind it is all there for when I do feel like eating.

This afternoon I took on the challenge of re-tuning the TV. Although ours is a digital it is a few years old so is not that keen on doing it itself. As a result we have to do it manually and Peter did it last time with much swearing and grinding of teeth. Eager to do something useful I volunteered this time around, I mean how hard could it be? Going through the channel list I found to my delight that the majority of the channels were ok but there were about ten that needed to be sorted. Two hours later I was getting ready to throw the TV thought the window. Each channel had to be selected four or five times before any change was accepted. Now I know why Peter was talking about getting a new one after the last re-tune. In the end I got everything except two channels done then gave up before my blood pressure took off.

It's off to the Brompton tomorrow. I'm still in two minds whether to agree to an increase but I guess if that's what it is going to take in order to get back on my feet I'm just going to have to go with it and be prepared to swallow loads of anti sickness tablets for months on end. I suppose there is no use trying to second guess them and in my current state who knows what they will do. They are not going to be too impressed with me rocking up in wheelchair with an oxygen mask clamped to my face, that's for sure. Ah well let's see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Woke Up This Morning Feeling Fine

Woke up this morning suddenly realising I hadn't spent most of the night sitting up coughing my heart out, and keeping Peter awake in the process. My chest doesn't feel so heavy and I'm managing without oxygen except when I go upstairs, a definite improvement. This was confirmed by my GP who said the infection had all but cleared, with two days of antibiotics left he decided not to give me any more but told me to go straight back on Monday if I don't continue to improve or I get worse again. As I'm going to the Brompton on Friday I was happy with his conclusion. If the infection is on the retreat maybe my breathing will start to pick up. I will use the oxygen this evening so I'm topped up for overnight.

Healthcare At Home failed to deliver as promised. I waited until two and then called them. My request for a change of delivery date was logged onto the system but had not been passed along to those actually doing the delivery, brilliant. So I now have a guarenteed delivery date for Saturday morning, I'll believe that when I see it but I run out of some essential equipment on Sunday so if they don't deliver there will be problems. I have stressed this to them so I hoping nothing will go wrong this time round.

Laurence was at home today so I put him to work doing the washing and hanging it out to dry. To be fair he never once complained. Andrew came home from school and did the washing up then got the washing in. I have to say I could get used to this.

It has been all quiet on the house buying front. The sellers have been away on holiday but return tomorrow so we expect things to start moving again next week. If everything goes to plan Laurence could be moving out at the end of the month. At the moment every time he goes out he returns with arms full of stuff for the new house. There is barely room for him in his bedroom which is beginning to resemble a badly arranged bric a brac shop.

Andrew has booked the off road part of the motorcycle test and will be doing it this Sunday, which seems an odd day to me but if that's when they do them, that's when they do them.

As I'm feeling better I've been promised a trip out in the wheelchair tomorrow to get some fresh air. Lets hope the weather stays dry. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

All I Need Is The Air That I Breath

Still terribly poorly, lost all interest in food and can't be bothered to do anything. I'm on oxygene almost permanently and even that isn't helping much. Have decided to go back to the doctor tomorrow because I've only got two days of antibiotics left and they are clearly not working. Peter is questioning whether it is an infection at all, he's worried that the Flolan has become ineffective in the same way the Iloprost did. Although that has also crossed my mind I'm trying to remain positive and if it is to blame I'm on a very low dose so an increase could help. Hopefully I'll get an answer one way or another on Friday when I return to the Brompton for a check up. I'm just hoping they don't decide to keep me in but if they do at least I might start to improve.

I just couldn't face the Warfarin clinic in the end, just getting dressed exhausts me and leaves me panting for breath so having to get ready for a trip out was too much to face. I also don't want to put myself in danger of picking anything else up so decided to stay at home. I will discuss getting my blood taken at the surgery when I go tomorrow.

My new oxygen bottles arrived today just as promised. The guy delivering it did a quick safety check and agreed that where we have stored the oxygen is as safe as it possibly can be in a domestic setting. He was pleased that we already have smoke alarms fitted because if we hadn't he have insisted we get some. Apparently some house insurers will not pay out if you have oxygen in the home and no alarms. Something to be aware of if you are in a similar situation. He also brought the trolley for my portable oxygen bottles but it was only after he left that we realised that the portable cylinders are too small for the trolley and the home use cylinders were too big. As I'm unlikely to be doing any walking in the next few days I decided to wait until I need to order more oxygen before complaining.

Lets hope things improve tomorrow.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Blowin' In The Wind

Well the promised storm arrived overnight and kept on going right through the day. It wasn't cold though and for most of the time we had lovely blue skies. Peter had a bit of unwanted exercise when our neighbour's bin was blown over and was relieved of most of its contents. It took him about twenty minutes to collect everything and return it to the bin. Typical collection though, any other Monday they turn up to do the bins before nine o'clock. When you want them to be early because of the weather they rock up at two.

Another day doing very little though I have been on the phone arranging deliveries. First call was to the oxygen people to order more canisters. I've been going through it at a fair lick as I'm using it for most of the day at the moment. They were really efficent and promised delivery sometime tomorrow. Also had to ring Healthcare At Home as I suddenly realised they were delivering on Friday when I expect to be at the Brompton. All I wanted to do was move the delivery from between eight and one to sometime after two when Andrew would be back from school. Simple wouldn't you think, think again. No they couldn't possibly guarentee delivery after two, even though I was told that I could arrange different deliveries provided I gave at least twenty four hours warning. The alternative was delivery on Monday, I pointed out I couldn't do that as I was very short on some items. This Wednesday was then offered and agreed on, then came the question, 'what time would you like delivery?'
'Late afternoon, around three?'
'That's fine, see you then.'
WTF!!!!! If I can arrange for delivery after three on Wednesday why can't I do so for Friday? Does that make sense to you? No me neither but I couldn't be bothered to argue with her so Wednesday after three it is.

Still feeling pretty poorly, the inside of my chest feels as though it has been grated it is so sore and I am coughing like an eighty a day smoker. I'm getting a bit concerned because I'm on day four of my antibiotics and only have three days left and they don't seem to have touched the infection yet. I'm in two minds whether to go back to my GP and see if he can prescribe something stronger or to hang on until I go to the hospital on Friday and hope they can suggest something. Peter thinks I ought to wait until Friday but he's not the one feeling like they are drowing but then will the GP do anything until I've finished the first course? Decisions, decisions. What really surprises me is that I'm usually fretting about work by now but I have hardly given it a second thought, maybe that's a good sign, maybe not.

The cats are absolutely hating this windy weather. Every time the windows and doors rattle they jump and look around nervously. Both snuggled up to me in bed this morning obviously wanting reassurance, which they would have got if they hadn't made me so damned hot. That is the weird thing, it has been very windy but not at all cold. The thermometer in the garden recorded twenty two degrees this afternoon and it is still in the mid teens as I write this.

My neighbour was out this afternoon examining his new fence. He appears to have erected six foot panels which he has supported with four foot posts. However it is a bit of a hasty solution to a tricky problem. Earlier in the year the house that backs onto their garden was sold and new people moved in and started to clear the garden. This in not usually a problem but they also cut down a selection of tall hedges and trees dividing my neighbours garden with theirs. Again this would normally not be a problem but everytime my neighbours sat out on their patio they would look up to find these new people just standing around staring at them, how rude. In the end my neighbours were made to feel uncomfortable in their own garden so they put up the new fence. I can't say I blame them as we had to do the same at the bottom of our garden when the people whose garden backs onto our property would set up deck chairs and sit and watch us in the garden as though we were a TV show. However our six foot panels are anchored in place by six foot poles so are standing firm in the face of the high winds. My neighbour's fence isn't quite so solid. A re-think might be in order.

I'm supposed to be going to the Warfarin clinic tomorrow but a lot will depend on how I feel. If I do go I'll have to take my portable oxygen. At least I'll get to give it a trail run at last. I think I'm going to have to trust Tesco to the men this week, which means lots of treats but they are bound to forget the loo rolls. Still you can't have everything can you.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New York, New York

More on Laura. I have now found out that Laura was an organ donor and as a result at least two people have received the precious gift of life from her passing. The generosity of organ donors and their families never ceases to amaze me. What surprised me about this story was that Laura was still able to donate her organs. I always understood that the drugs we PHers have to take made donating organs a no-no but I appear to be wrong. I have now put myself back on the donor list and would urge anyone reading this to do the same. Don't put it off because you will forget. Do it now and save a life in the future.

Had a major panic this morning when I thought my line was falling out. The bit hanging outside my body seems to have lengthened and is now almost down to my hips. I swear it was shorter when it was first put in. There is no sign of infection or bleeding and I'm not in pain so don't know whether I'm imagining it. I was told that it would be almost impossible for the line to fall out as there are several 'cuffs' along it's length that hook themselves into the flesh to stop that happening. This is something I will have to keep an eye on over the next few days and definitely something to discuss with the consultant on Friday. I know I'm probably being silly but best to be safe than sorry.

Well Wales did really well against South Africa, yes I know I said Argentina, goodness knows where I got that idea. They lost by one single point and gave the current world champions a real run for their money. Samoa next Sunday, hoping for a win. As for the Grand Prix well Jenson did really well coming second and Lewis got fourth so not a bad result all in all.

I'm feeling a little bit better today but improvement is slow and slight. I am frustrated and want to push things but have been firmly confined to the settee again by my long suffering family. Tomorrow Andrew will be at school and Laurence will be at work so I'm hoping I'll be well enough to at least make my own drinks. I hate being waited on, like most mothers I find it awkward not to be looking after my family and having them look after me instead.

You must have been hiding under a rock for the last few months to not know that today is the annivesary of 9/11. Like most people I know exactly where I was and what I was doing that day. I was a part time teacher at Bedford college at the time and was at home preparing for my next class. I had Sky news on while I was going through some paperwork, there was a story I was hoping to catch an update on, and saw the second plane hit. All thoughts of lesson planning went out of the window for the next couple of hours as I sat glued. As horrible as it was I had to watch. Ten years on the horror has faded as time has blunted the sensation but I'll never forget. We visited New York the following February and went to pay our respects at ground zero. It was a weird time to be visiting. Most of the tourist attractions were still closed, we couldn't visit the Statue of Liberty for instance and had to be content with a boat trip around her. The strangest thing though was how many people, establishiing by our accents that we were visitors, thanked us for visitng their country. I've added two pictures to my blog today. One shows part of the wall surrounding Ground Zero and the other Andrew and Laurence posing with a policeman and some of the fire brigade all of whom were more than happy to have their pictures taken. I hope one day to return to New York in happier times and finally get to see Liberty from the inside.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

It's So Boring Being Bored

It has been another sad day for the PH community with the death of eighteen year old Laura. As I'm sure I've said before, every death from this horrible condition makes those left behind look at their own lives and wonder who will be next. It is a horrible reminder that this illness will get you in the end, there is no cure beyond transplant and very few of us will be given that option and even fewer will survive the transplant beyond five years. My heart goes out to Laura who had such a short but positive life and to her family and friends who bravely stood by her through everything. 

I've been forced to spend yet another day wrapped up in a duvet in front of the TV. Apart from being incredably boring, there is only so much TV you can take in a day, it is worrying that I haven't picked up yet. I just have no energy, no appetite, no desire to do anything other than sit and sleep.  I can't even be bothered to get up to make myself something to eat or drink. Even this blog seems to be too much trouble at the moment.

The boys have been wonderful. Andrew has taken over the role of cook and made a pasta for lunch, Laurence has turned into a cleaning devil and Peter is ferrying drinks to me on a regular basis. I'm being very well looked after all in all.

I have now given up on getting any tomatoes off my plants this year. I sent Andrew out to see if there were anymore ripe fruit and he reported back that it was all still very green and that the plants had been damaged by the recent high winds. What a shame, everything had looked so promising to start with, bloody British weather. Surely we are due a nice long hot summer soon. On the plus side the brambles are dripping with fruit which has now been picked, washed and frozen ready for some yummy crumbles and pies.

One thing I am looking forward to today is the return of Strictly Come Dancing. I have been an avid fan from the very first series so tonight's launch will be the highlight of the weekend for me, it's a pity we still have to wait another two weeks for the show to start properly. Tomorrow morning it is Wales versus Argentina in the Rugby world cup then the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. I will be trying very hard to whip up some enthusiasm, hopefully I won't have try that much as I might be feeling better by then. Here's hoping and come on Wales!

Friday, 9 September 2011

All I Can Do Is Keep Breathing

After another uncomfortable night I finally got to see my GP today who diagnosed yet another chest infection and prescribed yet more anti biotics. They may as well leave me on them permanently. My oxygen sats were only 83% at rest which is low for me so I rang the Brompton when I got home and they advised I use the oxygen as much as I needed until the infection has cleared. I'm normally only supposed to use it when moving around and for a couple of hours before bedtime to give me an overnight boost. The oxygen has been a God send, it has made such a difference and like most things I wish I'd agreed to have it installed a long time ago.

So it was another day in front of the TV. I wish I could say what I'd watched but I only managed about ten minutes and drifted off into a deep peaceful sleep. I finally woke up about three feeling incredibly thirsty. I felt much better, I don't know if it was the sleep, the pill or the oxygen but the feeling only lasted as long as it took me to stagger into the kitchen to make myself a drink. Ho hum, no instant cure here then.

Peter was out all day so I was on my own until Andrew came home from school, as luck would have it he had a full day today. Laurence arrived shortly after having spent the afternoon in the gym. He was moaning because for the last three days there has been a small but noisy demonstration by EDL members outside his place of work. They are expecting a considerably larger demo of several hundred tomorrow, thankfully Laurence is not working.

It was the start of the Rugby world cup today and Laurence is so convinced that Wales are going to win he's actually put a bet on. I managed to watch the opening match between Tonga and New Zealand before my doctor's appointment and was rewarded with a double haka. I absolutely love the haka so was delighted. Wales is playing Argentina on Sunday morning, I hope his faith is rewarded.

While at the GP's I booked this year's flu jab, usually I completely forget about this until it is almost too late but as I've had a bad year with infections decided it would be prudent to get it in early. I'm booked in for the first week in October. The one draw back is I have to be well to have it, not liking my chances.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

I'm Sick And Tired Of Always Being Sick And Tired

I did a stupid thing today. I forced myself into work and lasted less than ten minutes. My breathing has become rapidly worse over the last twenty four hours and I'm beginning to suspect I might have another infection. I knew I wasn't well getting up but I showered, changed my dressing, put on my uniform and had breakfast all the time trying to ignore what I was feeling. Usually if I get to work I start to feel better but not today. As one of my colleagues told me as I walked through the door 'you look really fucked mate'. He tends to be to the point. God dammit! I am so frustrated, I cannot remember the last time I really felt well, it is just one thing after another and it is getting me down. Luckily for me my work colleagues have more sense than I do and I was packed off home before I even managed to set up my computer.

I spent the day in bed dozing or watching whatever nonsense was on TV. As always when I'm fighting for breath I can't concentrate on anything and I don't feel like eating. The Complan really came into it's own today. I also managed lots of tea and some soup to keep me going. I've booked an appointment with my GP for tomorrow so if it  is an infection I can get treatment before the weekend arrives. Thank God for the oxygen, I would be in a real state without it. One programme that did catch my eye was an Australia documentary about a woman having a lung transplant for PH. Before the transplant she was purple, on oxygen and basically just sitting around watching DVD's and praying for a donor. She had less than a year to live. Three months after the transplant she is back singing with the Gilbert and Sullivan opera group she belongs to. How awe inspiring is that, back singing just three months after the op. I must admit to a tinge of jealousy but felt so happy for her. It is rare for PH to ever be mentioned on TV, so to come across this programme was a piece of luck.

Andrew was on edge today, he was taking his theory test as the first step to getting his full motorbike licence. He discovered that getting the full licence will bring his insurance down by at least a hundred pounds so the race is on to pass the test before the end of October. Thankfully he passed so it is now on to part two the off road bit. I would rather he was learning to drive a car but apparently that is next on the list. I have a feeling it is going to be an expensive year.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

Yesterday I did absolutely nothing, tell a lie I ironed a couple of shirts then did absolutely nothing. It was quite an interesting day weather wise with the wind howling and the rain lashing the windows. Both cats had decided to do what I was doing and we were all soon vying for space on the duvet. It was so damned cold! I refuse to put the heating on so early so it was out with the woollies and the socks and on with the furry slippers. My feet always seem to suffer the most in cold weather, if they are warm I am usually warm. The most exciting event of the day was Andrew going to register with the upper sixth, even though he had already told them in June he was intending to return. He was outraged when he was subjected to a fifteen minute interview as to his future plans and whether he intended to go to university or not. Why? What is the point and what does it matter what he wants to do after he leaves? Anyone would think the upper sixth is over subscribed but it's not they are fighting to fill places so why the Spanish Inquisition? Sometimes I think that school gets a little above itself, OK it is one of the best in the county but even so.

Today the rain has stopped and the wind had lessened but it was still a pretty wintry day. Even if we wanted to go out today we couldn't because we were waiting for a man. To be precise a man who would drill a hole in our wall and tell us whether we were eligible for free cavity wall insulation. We'd rung up about this in June and after several canceled appointments, by them, the big day finally arrived. Of course they couldn't say exactly when the man would arrive but it would be 'sometime in the morning'. He eventually turned up around lunchtime and set about drilling a hole and poking a small flexible camera in it to see if we had the sort of walls needed for the process. The good news is yes we have and a date has been set for the 13th October for it to be done.If they cancel this as many times as they canceled the consultation it'll probably be closer to 13th February before we get it. We've been meaning to do this for ages but last winter gave us the push we needed. Like most people with PH the cold is really bad news for me. Because of the various medications I'm on I feel the cold more than most. Cold also affects my breathing really badly, last winter was a nightmare and I spent most of it looking like a terrorist with a scarf tied around my nose and mouth every time I went out. At home we had to keep the heating going almost non stop and of course the bills were enormous. Hopefully being fully insulated will mean we won't need to use the heating so much and I will remain comfortable.

Apparently our computers were not working again today, at least according to the bloke who rang three times within half an hour to tell us so. Peter got increasingly irate until he hit on the idea of repeating the man's script back at him, we've heard it so many times we can repeat it word for word. The man couldn't handle this and finally slammed the phone down when Peter said 'now you are going to tell me you are from Microsoft'. The phone has remained silent ever since.

Andrew started back to school today, for one lesson. It seems that he doesn't do a full day anymore with the maximum amount of lessons being three in any one day. This is to prepare him for uni and all the self study he'll be doing but it means keeping track of him is going to be even more difficult from now on. At least when he was in school for the day, he was in school for the day now he'll be popping in and out like a yo-yo. And that means never having a full fridge, 'sigh'.

I was having a holiday from the Warfarin clinic this week as my INR is finally stabilising so did not have the opportunity to listen to Grace and her mates putting the world to rights. Although I am grateful for the break I sort of miss going, isn't that odd.

It is back to work tomorrow and a trip to the Occupational Health doctor. I am still struggling to get back to my full hours. I've sort of stopped at six hours a day, which is only three hours less than I normally do but at the end of the six I'm on my knees. I even go to bed when I come home, which I haven't done since I stopped teaching. It's as though my body is saying 'that's it, that is all I can do'. It is very frustrating because last time I'd been off for a long period of time it only took me a month to get back to normal. I don't understand why this is happening. Mentally I feel as though I'm giving up a bit. I'm quite good at willing myself to do things and have managed to force myself through a lot of stuff but at the moment I just can't be bothered. Some will say this is a good thing and it is about time I started to accept my limitations but when you know it just isn't you there is something wrong. It's back to hospital next week to see if they can try increasing the dose again, maybe this will be the answer, maybe not. 

Monday, 5 September 2011

Earth, Wind And Fire

We live in a small village in the heart of rural Bedfordshire. As such we are surrounded by farms. Now this can be a good thing as fresh eggs, cheese, meat and veg are always available and can be bought for very reasonable prices and you know exactly where things have come from. The downside is that every so often you nostrils are assaulted by a variety of farm yard smells, some stronger than others but none of them pleasant. Even with the windows close it seemed to seep in and if you had to open the door for any reason your eyes watered.  Today was one of those days, I know it has to be done but even so.

Things were not helped by the wind, my goodness was it windy today. I love listening to the wind especially at night tucked up in a warm bed. However like most PH patients I find it very difficult to get around in as it literally takes my breath away. I don't know why but it is like having all the air sucked out of my body. It is not so bad when the windy is warm and moist but in the depths of winter when it is icy it can be a real problem. We have a mature silver birch in our back garden and at time this afternoon it was almost bent right over into my neighbours garden. I've worried about that tree ever since we moved in but so far it has survived everything the weather has thrown at it including the hurricane of 1987.

I was forced to venture out as we needed to stock up at Tesco's. We decided to go what we call 'the back way' which avoids the main roads. As usual the first day of term means the council is out digging up as many roads as they can possibly manage. Anyway we drove past a hedge of fire thorn. It was so beautiful, absolutely covered in bright orange berries. The birds will be having a real feast and it made the otherwise dull country lane light up. It was lovely wandering around the shop without fighting my way through hoards of screaming kids. I did consider road testing my portable oxygen but once out of the wind really didn't feel I needed it so didn't bother.

The excitement of the day was indirectly provided by Smirnoff. In the early hours of this morning Smirnoff appeared at my bedside mewing loudly. Too tired to investigate the cause I sushed him and went back to sleep. After returning from Tesco I went into the bedroom to change and for whatever reason remembered the cat's strange behaviour. In the corner of the room there is a pile of books awaiting a trip to the loft. Don't ask me why I did this but I slowly moved the books and found cowering in the corner a tiny mouse. It was so cute but had no place in my bedroom. I called Andrew to come and give me a hand removing it. He was just reaching out to grab it when it took off down the corridor to his room. I have never seen anything move so fast. Andrew shot after it closely followed by Smirnoff who had been asleep on the bed. A scuffle ensued then the mouse followed by the cat and then Andrew ran back past me and down the stairs. Andrew caught up with them in the living room and cornered the mouse by the book case. I followed and removed both cats, Tarmac had now become interested in the commotion, so Andrew could have another shot at grabbing it. There was a yell then Andrew raced towards the back door calling for my to unlock it quickly. The mouse had taken off up Andrew's shirt sleeve and was sitting in his armpit. We got onto the lawn and Andrew was squirming and laughing as the mouse was racing around inside his shirt. I lifted his shirt up and saw the mouse sitting between his shoulder blades staring right back at me. After a lot of wriggling we managed to extract the mouse and release it into the undergrowth at the end of the garden. We were both hysterical with laughter and I had to sit down and take my asthma inhalor because I was laughing so much. In all my years of having cats I have never had anything like that happen to me before. I'm just glad it was Andrew's sleeve it ran up and not mine.

Fantastic tribute to Freddie Mercury on Google this morning. Very surprised to find Freddie would have been sixty five years old today. Had he lived I have no doubt he would still be rocking. Time to put on Day At The Races and raise a glass to one of my favourite performers of all time.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Woke up really late today, best sleep I've had in months and boy do I feel better for it. I don't remember when I was last this lazy but maybe I should try it more often. If the weather hadn't been so foul I'd have been working like a trojan getting the garden ready for winter. Unfortunately it absolutely poured so it was 'catch up with my TV programmes' day.

I'd bought some new bath bombs from the Lush website so despite the late hour decided to try one. Oh dear! It smelled lovely but was full of glitter and it wasn't long before I was covered in the stuff. Normally I wouldn't worry but I was concerned that the tiny bits would cause problems when I changed my dressing after the bath. I know it sounds trivial but anything like this getting near the entry site could set off an infection and that is really serious. An infection could mean a stay in hospital or even having to have the line removed and replaced. I tried to towel off as much as I could but all I succeded in doing was to spread it further around the bathroom. To add to my problems where my line has touched my body it now was also covered in glitter. By the time I got myself dried and dressed the bathroom, bedroom and cat were covered in the stuff. I must remember to read the ingredients of these things more carefully in future. In the end I used a couple of the disinfectant wipes to remove the glitter from the skin around the edges of my dressing and from the line so I was able to stop any glitter getting near the site. A lesson learnt. Alway check the flaming label.

Oh my goodness did it rain! I'm told it was really sunny around eight o'clock. By the time I surfaced it had clouded over but showed no signs of what was to come. Going into the kitchen to prepare lunch I noticed it had started to drizzle, the next time I looked it was pouring and it just went downhill from there. Within an hour the rain was coming down so hard that I couldn't see the other side of the road and the street had turned into a river. Not only was it heavy but it kept it up for most of the afternoon. Even our patio, which is well drained, had turned into a pond and the cats were having to use the narrow wall around the herb garden to get from the cat flap to the lawn. When they came back in they glared at me as though it was all my fault! The sun finally came back out late in the afternoon by which time I'd lost my motivation besides which it was far too wet to do any weeding. Maybe tomorrow.

My thoughts today are with a good friend who had to be rushed to hospital following an adverse reaction to medication. Well I certainly know how that feels. Sometimes I really think the cure is worse than the illness. Hope you are back on your feet very soon.

Andrew announced that in four weeks he'll be able to have a tattoo without my permission. This came out of the blue and I really hope he is just winding me up. However having talked to him about it, it is clear he has been giving it some thought. He doesn't want anything that is on permanent view as he doesn't want anything to impact on his chances of getting a uni place or, in the future, employment. That's something I suppose but even so I'm not exactly happy about it.

I've put on some weight, for the second week in a row, only half a pound, but it is still a gain. I ran out of the chocolate Complan so tried the banana one. It's a bit like Nesquick but not so sweet and nothing like banana. In the end though, despite the dodgy flavours it does seem to be doing some good so I will put up with it and with a bit of luck, at my current rate, I should be at my target weight by, ummm, Christmas.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Take A Breath And Hold On Tight

Last night I sat on the settee watching a film while attached to my oxygen. I've been prescribed a couple of hours a day as and when I need it. I decided to give it a go to see if it really did make any difference so used it for an hour. I was quite surprised because I didn't think I'd notice any change whilst sitting still but after twenty minutes or so my chest felt so less congested and my cough had stopped. I have yet to use it whilst walking, I chickened out of using it at work, but if it makes the same difference as it did last night it can only be good news.

This morning I was brushing my teeth when Tarmac sauntered into the bathroom, climbed into the toilet bowl and started drinking the water. EWWWWWWW!!!!! After thirteen years the cats are still surprising me but not always in a nice way.

It was my last day at work today  before four glorious days off. The last day is always hard because by then I am shattered. Another lovely drive home, the weather really has been gorgeous these last few days but wouldn't you know it on my first day off it is forecast to rain and rain heavily. Oh well it is a Sunday so an ideal excuse to have a duvet day and rest. Unusually I have four free days without any hospital appointments or clinics to attend. I won't know what to do with all my free time. If it is dry I'll plant some bulbs for spring and a trip to the shops has been earmarked in to try out my oxygen. There are two things I will be testing. Does the oxygen make a difference such as can I walk further, faster, longer, and am I able to carry the tank? I suspect the answer to the last bit might well be no but we will see. If I can't I will be on the phone on Monday ordering my trolley. I'm also hoping that we can go out and do some photography as it has been ages since we've just been able to relax and wander around with the cameras.

Well that's the plan, no doubt things will change but as long as I'm doing something I enjoy who cares. 

Friday, 2 September 2011


Found it really difficult to get up this morning. I seem to have lost all my motivation. Still not sleeping through the night so that probably isn't helping. Work dragged, all I could think about was getting my head down and having a good snooze. I perked up around midday and leaving in the warm sunshine I felt quite good. The roads were busier today so I didn't leave my windows down for long this time as the noise of the traffic rather spoilt the mood. It was still a lovely drive home and felt more like early June than September.

I was supposed to be going to help Laurence and Peter measure up Laurence's new home but couldn't face it so sent them on their way while taking the opportunity to be alone in the house for a change. A cup of tea and the paper on the decking, wonderful! There are not going to be many more days like these left this year so it was nice to get out in the fresh air and feel the sun on my face. It was a bit disappointing that I wasn't up to helping the boys it but I'm sure I'll be seeing lots of the house when he finally moves in.

Andrew is celebrating the last weekend before returning to school with an all night party at a friend's house. He has been there before so I'm OK with it but it is a stark reminder that in five weeks he will also be an adult and no longer needing my permission to stay out all night.

Got my phone call from Healthcare at Home regarding my drug count. Delivery is on the 16th.

My oxygen has finally arrived and been installed, I have one massive tank in the living room and a second in the bedroom. In addition  I have four small portable cylinders that I can wear in a ruck sack type bag for when I'm out and about. My medical team were worried about the way my oxygen sats drop when walking so decided the time had come for a little extra help. I don't think I'll be using the big cylinders unless I get a cold or chest infection as I'm perfectly fine when sitting down, which is why I can still work. Walking around is still difficult even with my new meds so having oxygen I can use when I  need it without having to drag a huge tank around will be a bonus. Although described a 'light weight' they still feel pretty heavy to me. There is an optional trolley I can request so I can drag the bag around but I don't know if that will be more of a hinderance than a help. I'm going to take one of the little portables into work with me tomorrow to see how easy it is to get on with. If I find it very heavy to carry in from the car park, which is only a short distance, then I'll know that I'll be needing a trolley for longer jaunts. I've held out against having oxygen for a long time so feel rather sad that I've finally had to succumb but I don't have to have it all the time and it is nice to have a back up, just in case.

Last day tomorrow then four days off. What do you think the chances are of the beautiful weather remaining? Yep, I thought that too.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

Got told to 'go and f*** yourself ' today and things just went down hill from there. Sometimes you just have days when everyone seems grumpy and today was one of them. I wasn't really in the mood for it but you have to take the rough with the smooth. It didn't help that my breathing was playing up or that I was generally out of sorts. Part of this was down to an extremely painful finger which, at first, I thought I'd broken. The pain kept waking me up so I was tired too. Thankfully the finger has improved during the day and is much better this evening.

I put in my options for the new shift patterns today. As I said yesterday my choices were limited so it really didn't take me much time to decide what to do. Now comes the long wait to find out if I've got what I've asked for or will be unlucky enough to become one of the many who will not have a job after April.

Considering it was the first official day of autumn it was a gorgeous. I turned the air con off and wound down the window on the way home. I love feeling the wind in my hair and breathing in the smells of the countryside. As I was driving through one of the pretty small villages Meatloaf came blasting out of my music player singing the title of this blog. OK it was the afternoon but I couldn't help agreed with him.  By the time I went out to check on the garden the heat had been tempered by that familiar autumn nip but it was a lovely end to the day nevertheless.

Got home to find all my meds spread out on the bed. At first I thought Peter had gone mad then I remembered it was drug count day. Task done and everything back in the cupboard I went down stairs,  made myself some Complan and settled for a quiet half hour with the newspaper. Bliss!
Tomorrow is going to be busy, busy, busy. Not only are we expecting the phone call for the drug count but my oxygen is due to be installed, though God knows where they are going to put it. I am also expecting some portable oxygen which I will be able to take into work with me (I could have done with some today) so that will be helpful. And to top it all off we are going up to Rushden late afternoon to measure up in Laurence's new house.

So all in all a quiet day or as I prefer to think of it, the calm before the storm.