Saturday, 31 March 2012

Z Cars

The woman who set herself alight is critically ill and her family are demanding that the politician that advised storing fuel in jerry cans be sacked. I feel sorry for her and her family but the politician didn't tell her to pour fuel into a jug standing next to a naked flame. You cannot legislate for people's stupidity.

What a night! Went to bed later than usual as I stayed up to watch something on TV. I had just turned the light out around midnight when I heard running footsteps go past the house. I didn't think anything of it, our road has a short cut through to the train station so people are often hurrying to catch trains. Five minutes later all hell broke loose. The police helicopter arrived first and decided to park itself right over our house. Then a police car arrived, blue lights flashing, which dived into the close opposite us before charging off up the road. A few minutes later it was charging off back down the road and the helicopter departed. Excitement over I got back into bed, turned over and a familiar sound came back to haunt me. The helicopter was back and I presume the police cars were to as there was a lot of activity. The helicopter hung around for twenty minutes and then all went quiet. It was about one o'clock by then and I was just dropping off when loud drunken voices brought me back to consciousness. Five drunks, presumably off the last train, decided to stop and have a chat and a giggle outside my neighbours house. The last time I looked at the clock it was quarter to two. I was so glad I didn't have to get up for work this morning. We had a spate of attempted burglaries last weekend so I can only think last night's activity was related to that, I will have to try and find out.

There has been a flutter of panic among the transplant community over the last few days. The liquid used to transport some organs has been found to contain bacteria. This news does not effect PH patients as the liquid in question is not used on hearts and lungs. However those who have recently had liver, pancreas or bowel transplants are at risk. Reassurance came from a transplant surgeon who said that it didn't really matter because of the amount of antibiotics transplant patients are on after the surgery. Let's hope he's right.

Weighed myself this morning and was horrified to discover I've lost more weight. Saw a box of chocolates I fancied yesterday but didn't buy. I've got a good excuse now so they will be snaffled up later today.

Spent the afternoon trying to book flights for Andrew to go to Bulgeria after his exams finish. Everything was fine until we tried to put just one bag onto the flight, for some reason every bag we put on the website doubled it and charged double too. We tried to ring the help line but it was unobtainable and the phone line to complain about the helpline was for office hours only. By the time I manage to book I'll be needing a holiday too.

Despite being kept up all hours and waking before eight I feel a lot livelier today, probably the result of having a lazyish day yesterday. Today has been a proper sloth day, A long soak in the bath, an hour or two with a good book and a film on the TV. To top it off it is Britain's Got Talent tonight and I can hardly wait. If last week was anything to go by this series is going to be a treat.

Think I will treat myself to a glass of cider or wine this evening, I don't drink very often but I've got a yearning for it today. With a bit of luck it will knock me out cold and I'll get more than six hours sleep. Here's hoping.

Friday, 30 March 2012

And The Darwin Award Goes To......

For those of you who do not live in the UK and are a bit bemused by my 'Mr Cameron' comment in yesterday's blog let me explain.

On Tuesday (I think) the trade union that most of our tanker drivers belong too voted to strike over pay and conditions. No date has yet been set for this strike, indeed talks are still ongoing to try and prevent it altogether, and when it is they have to give seven days notice of the date by law. On Wednesday our esteemed Prime Minister and his colleagues started to warn people to fill up their tanks and maybe even a few cans just in case. People immediately started panic buying fuel leading to shortages and long queues at filling stations. In short creating a crisis out of nothing. Now of course they are trying to calm things down by saying there is no need to panic but it is far too late for that and the public are just not listening.

News came in mid morning of woman being rushed to hospital with 40% burns. She decided to pour petrol from one container into another in her kitchen next to her cooker which was on at the time. The petrol fumes ignited and set her clothing on fire. Of course the media are up in arms and blaming the politicians. Well the politicians are certainly responsibly for the current panic but in all honesty they cannot be responsible for someone who has no common sense. I hope this woman recovers and I hope she isn't badly injured but most of all I hope she has learned not to pour petrol next to a naked flame in a confined space.

After longing to my bones for a nice long lie in I was awake at seven thirty this morning. Why does this happen? The early wake up did allow me to get all my washing done and hung out on the line by ten. Unfortunately the bright sunshine that we'd been blessed with during my four days at work was hidden by cloud  and it actually looked like it was about to rain. I am not exactly hopeful of getting everything dried and put away by this evening.

The morning was spent catching up on my many e-mails and battling with my online banking system. The bank has decided to upgrade it's website and so everything has been reduced to a crawl. After being booted out  for the third time because my request had 'timed out' I finally got on and was horrified by what I found. Instead of having a neat menu to click on they have tried to put everything on the same page, well at least as much as they could squeeze onto a page. Not only does it look messy but it is really hard to find things and everything I clicked on either came up with an error message or timed out. I decided to give up and try again after the weekend. I must admit I began to wonder whether I'd stumbled onto one of these fake sites but I wasn't asked for my full password, card or account number and when I did finally get on it showed all my recent transactions so I think I'm OK, at least I hope I am.

Went shopping this afternoon and was highly amused to see queues out onto the roads at some stations and empty forecourts at others. It seems the 'keep calm' message hasn't penetrated yet. Are we as a race getting thicker or what?

My drug delivery arrived today and instead of sending me two boxes of dressings they sent me, yes you guessed it, two dressings. Another phone call, another complaint made.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Dumb And Dumber

Thank you so so much Mr Cameron for making a difficult job even harder. You cannot imagine the number of complaints for obstructed roads, all outside filling stations, that we've had today.

Well I made it through four eight hour shifts, almost. I certainly didn't feel as tired as I did last week but today things caught up with me, the heat certainly didn't help, and I was forced to throw in the towel an hour early. I've decided that as I'm struggling a bit at the moment to drop my hours back down a bit just until I pick up speed again. This is something I really do not want to do but I'm afraid that if I don't then I might end up having more time off. So for two weeks I'm going to do four seven hour days and will reassess things. My employers are being very patient and have said several times they'd rather I were there for shorter hours than not there at all.

I went to see the Occupational Health doctor today for one of our regular catch ups and he is worried about me. He said I was working 'at the extreme limit' of my capabilities at the moment and has put a halt on me increasing my hours back to my normal ten anytime soon. We had a long talk and even discussed early retirement due to ill health. I'm not quite ready for that yet but it is something I've been mulling over for some time. I do think this is going to be a make or break year for me. If I don't get my transplant I can't honestly see me still being able to work much longer. I've tried to carry on as normally as possible for as long as possible and in all honesty I think I've done pretty well considering it is five years since diagnosis and I'm supposed to be dead already. However PH is now encroaching into my everyday living more each day. I no longer look 'well' and my weight loss has weakened me more than I thought. Knowing me I'll suddenly perk up again and all thoughts of giving up work will fly from my head for a while or I'll become ill again and the decision will be taken from my hands. If I am really honest I don't want to rush into retirement because I know that after transplant I'll, eventually, be as fit as the next person and be able to work the same hours as the next person. I like my job and would be heart broken if I gave it up and then the next day got my transplant. I could always return to teaching but I don't know if I could face all the retraining I'd have to do. Five years out is a long time in teaching, especially in IT. Arrggghhh! Why can't I just have an easy black or white decision to make, why does it have to always be so complicated?

It was The Apprentice again last night and I have a new hate figure. Jane the team leader of the girls is deliciously obnoxious and thick with it.

The task this week was to invent a new product. I always like this task because sometimes what they come up with is genius, mostly though it is just crap and that's what was produced last night. The boys invented a bin but somehow managed to win, despite the concerted efforts of Ashar to make a balls up of things, and went off to celebrate in The Ivy. The girls invented a device to stop children splashing water out of the bath. Despite their protests that it was an 'entertainment device' it looked like a toy, had things dangling off it like a toy, it was a toy. As for stopping water coming out of the bath, well as they managed to demonstrate it was pretty useless at doing what it was designed for. They totally ignored their market research which favoured their other idea, a tap cover, and Jane topped it all off my telling the buyers to order a million units then shouted at everyone for not stopping her. Jane pouts, shouts everybody down and admits to being a 'leader not a team player'. However she managed to put the blame for the teams failure on the shoulders of Maria who had the misfortune to fall asleep in the car from sheer exhaustion. Sleep is for wimps apparently and Maria was out.

One of my neighbours is cooking something that smells absolutely delicious, I'm off to find something to eat.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Quiet Sunday In

Well the trip to Heathrow wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be and we arrived in good time to meet the flight. Finding Svetlana turned out to be easy too, we walked into Arrivals and there she was. Within thirty minutes of arriving we were back on the M4 and heading home. Once home Andrew settled her into the spare room and then introduced her to the delights of Britain's Got Talent, which she seemed to enjoy immensely. Tired from the flight she went to bed early and we were not far behind, Andrew because he had to get up for his paper round and we were just shattered from all the cleaning followed by a long drive.

Woke around eight thirty having had a completely uninterrupted nights sleep for the first time in weeks. I felt really refreshed and after reading the papers and having a soak in the bath was raring to go. I did two loads of washing and hung them out to dry then got down to making the cannelloni I'd planned for lunch. The kids finally emerged around ten thirty, to be fair Andrew had been up and done his paper round but then went back to bed, and spent the morning watching DVD's. Laurence arrived around half past eleven clutching a box of chocolates and a bunch of yellow roses. I was delighted. The roses are in my best vase on the dining table and the chocolates have been put aside as a reward for getting through my next four days at work.

After lunch Andrew and Svet went off to meet up with friends and Laurence, Peter and myself settled down to watch the Grand Prix. It was very exciting but totally the wrong result, in our house it is a case of 'anyone but Alonso'.

When not watching the Grand Prix or eating Peter has had his head stuck under the bonnet of the car, which still isn't working. He's getting a bit frustrated now so I'm avoiding the subject where I can and have taken to responding with sympathetic signs and word of encouragement whenever he brings it up.

Talking of Britain's Got Talent there were two outstanding acts for me. The first was the Welsh choir. How brave to sing in Welsh and how beautiful, so glad they got through. However the act that nearly got old cynical me in tears was Jonathan and Charlotte. If anyone deserves a break it is that boy. What a voice! I was really angry that, despite the Susan Boyle incident, Simon judged him before he even opened his mouth. I think Jonathan has a very bright future in front of him but I don't think that future will, sadly, include his friend. Although she had a nice enough voice she just didn't have the power needed to keep up with Jonathan.

Well it is the last of my four days off and I'm back to work tomorrow. I feel a lot perkier than I have done for some time, whether that feeling will last through my working week I don't know but at least I'll be starting from a good place. This means, of course that I might not get around to writing my blog, though I will try. What happened last week got me to thinking what would happen to my blog when I finally get my transplant. Obviously I'm not going to be in any state to blog for at least the first week so I've come up with a solution. I'm going to ask Andrew to post updates on the blog so you can follow my progress. They wont be actual blogs but at least it will keep you from wondering what has happened and whether I'm OK.

Well I've just had my summons to pick Andrew and Svet up so have to go. Until next time, have a good week. 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Woke up to some good news this morning. My colleague, who has just had a triple transplant due to Cystic Fibrosis, is home safe and well just three weeks after the operation. Isn't that fantastic! Just hope mine goes as well when I eventually have it. Well done John, looking forward to seeing you back at work.

Another foggy start to the day but thankfully the sun started to burn through by nine so it was a much better day than yesterday. Not that I got much time to enjoy it as I was busy getting the spare room ready for our visitor. It doesn't help that I'm tired today. The cats decided to have a huge fight on top of the bed last night, I couldn't get back to sleep after that and tossed and turned until the first slithers of light appeared between the curtains then I fell into a deep sleep so when Peter woke me with a cuppa at just after eight I was really groggy. I improved during the morning and was soon whipping around with dusters, though I left the heavy stuff like vacuuming to Andrew, she is his friend after all.

My new Lasagne dishes arrived today. I couldn't find one as big as the one I broke despite searching high and low. The nearest I could get was in John Lewis. Their dish was deeper than mine but not as long and on top of that they wanted sixty pounds for it. In the end I ordered two from Amazon and paid thirty pounds including postage. To be honest the smaller size will work well for us now that Laurence has left, on those occasions when he comes around for lunch I'll just make two lots and freeze the leftovers. Talking of which Laurence is coming over for lunch tomorrow, can't wait to see him.

Andrew was a frenzy of activity all morning, I've never seen him do so much. He's been excited all week and says that doing all the cleaning for me and sorting out his room takes his mind off things and makes the time go quicker. I suppose he has a point.

Peter is in a bad mood. After spending all afternoon yesterday and most of the morning today working on it  he finally got his engine back together. The car started brilliantly then promptly dropped all it's oil onto the drive. There was a lot of head scratching going on as Peter tried to figure out what went wrong. His biggest fear was that the head has warped. After about an hour of fiddling he realised that the gasket (?) was the wrong type so a new one has been ordered and we are playing the waiting game again. Tomorrow he starts the long process of stripping down the engine and cleaning it up. I think it is fair to say that we won't be swapping cars on Tuesday.

Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend, really hoping for another Brit winner, hopefully Jenson as I'd love to see him become world champion again. Michael Schumacher looks like putting a bit of a spanner in the works with a controversial new rear wing. I love all the intrigue and bitching that goes on, Formula One just wouldn't be the same without it. I especially like how Ferrari complain about everything being illegal unless, of course, it is on their cars. However it is the racing that counts at the end of the day and that is what I really love about it. A Brit one two in qualifying with Hamilton taking pole, fingers crossed for Jenson tomorrow.

Well I'm off to Heathrow in a minute to pick up our guest, Andrew is all of a flutter but has made a brilliant job of the spare room. Will let you know how it goes in tomorrow's blog.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Death Becomes Her

Well my morning went exactly to plan, well almost. I had a long lazy lie in with the paper and a cuppa and then had a long lazy bath complete with a Lush bath bomb. Naturally I came out smelling delicious but then spotted that the shower head needed a clean, one hour later I had a sparkling clean bathroom and a hot and sweaty me. I didn't fair much better in the afternoon as all the washing I did yesterday now needed ironing. The one compensation was that I could sit down and watch a DVD while doing it which seems
ed to make the pile shrink faster. At least I wasn't hankering to get out in the garden. Woke up to really thick fog which stubbornly hung around well past midday. I did have some fun though as the pj's and t shirts I'd ordered from Next, to go in my hospital bag, arrived so I spent a happy hour trying them on. Half the t shirts have gone into the transplant bag and the other half have replaced the tatty stuff I've been wearing around the house for the last year. I've kept a couple of old ones for gardening though, in the faint hope I'll feel up to being hands on.

The Apprentice is back! My Wednesday nights are something to look forward too again. I was delighted to find that the candidates are just as awful as I'd imagined they'd be and just as hopeless. Despite singing their own praises from the roof tops none of them seemed to have a clue what they were doing. The boys won the task, though just how they managed this with the mess they made I have no idea. So the girls, who had behaved appallingly it has to be said, were dragged into the boardroom to face the music. I fully expected Gabrielle the team leader to go as is usually the case with the first task but  instead Lord Sugar focused his attention on Katie 'The Blonde Assassin' who despite all her self promotion basically did nothing on the task except stand around looking moody. The third person to be brought back was Bilyana who just couldn't keep her mouth shut and insisted on talking over Lord Sugar, never a good idea. So with Katie in the firing line the dreaded finger was about to be pointed when Bilyana opened her mouth once again and was promptly fired. The Blonde Assassin lives to fight another day, unfortunately.

Having dealt with death in various forms all week I was a little cheesed off to be confronted with it during one of my visits to Eastenders. I don't watch this as often as I used to, partly because I'm usually preparing my meds while it is on and partly because I've grown bored with it. However this week, being so tired, I slumped on the settee and watched the whole sorry tale unfold. I swear the characters have been changed around just to confuse me. Ben is a true psychopath, and Ian, a resurgent Ian no longer scared of Phil, had better watch his back. Jay is a frightened little boy, Billy has become sensible and calm and Phil is so upset that he's throwing up in alleys. Yes it is the death of Heather 'Ever' Trott a character almost totally surplus to requirements. To be fair 'Ever' was playing a blinder and was probably the best corpse I've seen on TV in a long time. The most scary and at the same time hilarious performance was given by Ever's mate Shirl. Shirley is a scary lady when she's happy, which is rare. Distraught and disheveled, with a look that could strip flesh from the bone at twenty paces, she suddenly became the panto villain. And what a villain! She glared, she cried, she shouted and she spent a lot of her time stalking from place to place for no apparent reason, even Phil looked scared and that's some achievement. However through all the crying not one flake of eyeliner or mascara dared to move from it's appointed place, remarkable.

Peter spent the day putting his engine back together having had the head professionally 'skimmed' and the parts he needed safely delivered through the post.. The hope is that it will be ready to drive by Tuesday as he needs to borrow my car and I will use his to get into work.

Had a little bit of a panic last night. I had been trying to get hold of my mum since Monday night. We have a code, if she's out she puts the answer phone on so that I know she is OK just unavailable. If it rings and she doesn't answer then there could be a problem. Well I know she sometimes goes to church meetings on Monday's and Wednesdays and was willing to believe she might have forgotten to put the answer machine on for one of these days but not both and that didn't explain her not answering on Tuesday or Thursday. I rang my sister and she couldn't get hold of her either. Not knowing any of Mum's friends and not having anyone we knew in the immediate area my sister phoned the police and asked them to do a welfare check. Twenty or so minutes later Wendy rang to say she had finally contacted Mum. She was at a church meeting and couldn't answer her mobile because because they were 'in prayer'. I could have screamed. Anyway she rang me later and explained that her phone had been on the blink and an engineer had come out. This engineer had failed to reattach the answer machine and Mum hadn't noticed so she was turning the machine on every time she went out blissfully unaware it wasn't working. Some daughters do have 'em.

Tomorrow Andrew's friend from Bulgeria arrives so it is all hands on deck to get her room ready tomorrow morning and then a trip down to Heathrow to pick her up. So much for a quiet four days off.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Did You Miss Me, While I Was Away

First of all an apology, I didn't realise that so many people would be worried about me. I promise in future if I'm not going to blog for a while I'll let you know.

Went back to work on Sunday and although I did manage to get through my eight hour day by the time I got home I was so exhausted that the only thing I was capable of was lying on the settee watching TV before heading to bed and an early night. Going back to work this time was definitely more difficult than it was in the past and by the third day I was beginning to think I'd made a big mistake. Not only did I feel tired but I was having dizzy spells and felt faint. That night I bypassed the TV and after a cuppa, something to eat and a wash I slipped into bed and went out like a light. My last day, yesterday, was a lot better and I think I might just have been overtired. I will see what I'm like on Monday and if I'm still not coping will ask for a temporary reduction in hours again just to get me back up to speed. in the mean time I will use my four days off wisely and rest as much as I can.

It is not just my health that made this a difficult week, I seem to have been dealing with a lot of deaths. Suicides, accidents, not seeing a elderly neighbour for a while and murder have been rife this week which tends to bring you down a bit. Having said that we do get runs on things, one week it will be all parking problems, another week burglaries so I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got a run of deaths. Even so, I chose one hell of a week to return.


Well I was absolutely delighted with the result of the Wales/France rugby match, so delighted I stood up and screamed at the end of the match catapulting a rather startled cat, Tarmac had been sleeping on my lap, on to the floor. Our new TV arrived in the morning so I was able to watch the whole thing in HD, to be honest I don't think it really added much but what could it add to such a brilliant game?


Back to work and that meant having to get up earlier than normal and getting myself organised a lot quicker. I just about made it out of the house on time and thanks to the light Sunday morning traffic arrived a few minutes early. Not a bad first day but I must admit feeling aggrieved at having to work on Mother's Day. Still someone brought in a nice cake to cheer us all up so it wasn't all that bad. Recorded the Grand Prix and somehow managed to avoided finding out the result all day. Watched it when I got home and was delighted to see Jenson Button pass the winning line in first place. All in all a good weekend.


Was a bit of a blur, we were so busy it was truly manic at times. I felt tired but coped well enough. Slept like a baby when I got home.


My worst day. I felt really 'off', dizzy and light headed and a couple of times I really thought I was going to faint. I really couldn't wait to get home and back into bed. No idea what caused it, can only think I'd overdone it but not sure how.


Felt a lot better and breezed through the day, though I admit I was very glad to get home.


Well I did say this was going to be my do nothing rest day but it hasn't quite turned out like that. Went to Tesco's then did a load of washing and hung it out on the line. By three I could hardly keep my eyes open so settled down for a power nap with the kitties. So tomorrow I'm going to sleep late, soak in the bath and catch up on my TV and rest properly.

Suddenly the world seems to have woken up and there is blossom everywhere. We have some lovely pink cherries in our street and they are in full bloom. I swear they were not like that yesterday. The buses and trees in my garden are all in full bud and just about to burst into a riot of colour, I cannot wait.

Summer is on the way and I cannot be happier.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Retail Therapy Part Deux

Yesterday I finally got to spend some money. This was really an extension of the attempt at retail therapy started last Saturday. After a lot of deliberation we went back to John Lewis, breathed a sigh of relief that the TV we wanted was still there and nabbed it. While we were at it we also bough a blue ray DVD player. I reasoned that as I'm likely to be stuck in front of the TV for long periods of time over the coming months/years I may as well have something that doesn't take a week to warm up and doesn't make ominous clicking sounds during my favourite programmes. The DVD player was available to take with us straight away but we have to wait until this Saturday for the TV. I'm quite looking forward to it.

I actually manged to walk to John Lewis from the car and made my way around MK center bench by bench. I was quite proud of myself but my goodness did I feel it when I got home. I tried to fight it but unable to stop yawning or keep my eyes open I finally gave in and had a quite couple of hours snooze with the cats. I was woken up by a call from John Lewis telling me that they'd overcharged by forty pounds and wanted my card number for a refund. Brilliant!

The hunt for a sofa bed or indeed any type of bed continues for Svetlana's visit next weekend. So far we've missed out on one auction on ebay but are keeping watch on two others. If all else fails we'll be nipping out to get a camp bed and Andrew will have to give up his room.

I must be in a spending mood as today I've been on the Next website and ordered some new pj's and some t-shirts. The pj's will go into my transplant bag, which I've been advised to pack and keep either in the car or by the door. The t-shirts are to replace the ones I'm currently wearing at they have become shapeless and stained and will also come in handy when I'm well enough to start wearing normal clothing again. After all I'm not going to spend up to six weeks slopping around in my PJ's. Especially as I'm told patients are advised to take strolls around the grounds in the few days before they are sent home. I find wearing normal clothing in hospital makes me feel better. If I can be bothered to get dressed I know I'm on the mend. The effect is purely psychological but if it helps, it helps. It is also nicer for your visitors.

In the news is the awful story of the coach crash involving eleven and twelve year olds on a school trip. So far the cause has not been established but there are three possibilities, 1. there was some mechanical failure, 2. the coach driver had a heart attack or some other medical emergency or 3. the coach driver chose that moment to change a DVD. I've been on a fair few school trips in my time and in my experience it is usually the spare driver or one of the teachers that change the DVD's, mainly because in the coaches I've been on the DVD player has been out of reach of the driver, which is probably a safety feature. I appreciate that not all coaches are built the same but I'd be surprised if the driver was expected to chose a DVD, remove it from it's box, put it in a machine and get it up and running all while controlling a coach. I think the very natural thing in this sort of circumstance is to look for someone to blame and the driver is always the target and rightly so. What no one ever seems to appreciate though is that the driver has family who are grieving too, so maybe the blame game ought not to be so public until the facts have been fully established. Any crash where lots of lives are lost is a tragedy but somehow it seems more so when the victims are so young. I hope the families involved get answers very soon, it won't make things any better but at least they will know why it happened and that might just help. In the meantime I don't think there will be a parent on the planet who won't be feeling the pain with them while at the same time giving thanks that it wasn't their child.

Andrew has arrived home from school with one of his shoes in a sorry state. He was trying to make them last until the end of this year but it seems fate had other ideas. So it will be off the buy him some more this weekend, honestly once I start spending I can't seem to stop. No wonder I don't do it all that often.

Really looking forward to the big Wales/France match tomorrow where hopefully Wales will win the Grand Slam. Sadly news came in this morning about one of the greats from the 1970's squad. Mervyn Davies or Merv The Swerve, as he was affectionately known, lost his battle with cancer today, he was only sixty five. I hope the current squad gear themselves up and win the Grand Slam as a tribute. That would be very nice and very fitting.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

This Time Next Year.......

Had a call from Laurence last night. He'd just got in from a rather fraught shift. As he was doing his rounds he came across a man hanging by his neck. Laurence had to go in and cut him down. Thankfully the man survived and is doing well, Laurence sounded quite relaxed about it but underneath I think he was a little bit shaken having never had to do anything like that before, well who has? He will be coming over for lunch soon and will no doubt give us the full story then.

There is a bit of a panic on at our house at the moment. Andrew's Bulgarian girlfriend is paying a lightening visit to the UK with her father who is coming over on a business trip. Originally she was supposed to be coming over in May giving us plenty of time to find a bed for Laurence's old room and to tidy it up a bit, now we have just over a week. Andrew has offered to give up his own room for her and sleep on the floor of Laurence's room, an offer we might well have to take up.

I've done it again. Booked an appointment with a hairdresser, lost my bottle on the day and cancelled. It must be around five years since I last had my hair cut and I must admit it desperately needs attention, especially as I lost a lot of it when I was so desperately ill last summer. It is growing back but from my shoulders down it is frankly tatty. I know that in order to grow it back properly I need it cut back to where the new growth is starting to show but that means shoulder length and I just cannot do it. Part of the problem is that at the moment i just wash it and leave it. A shorter style will mean blow drying or tweaking with 'products' and I just don't have the energy for either. One day I will probably make it at least as far as the chair but for now I'm going to have to try and make the best of it, even if it does mean wearing it up more than down.

Watched the Biggest Loser last night and my word what a change. some of the competitors I really didn't recognise as they'd lost so much weight. Some were less successful and didn't look that much different from when they started. The winner was the man with the most to lose. Kevin was the heaviest competitor the show had ever had and I really feared for his health during some of the tasks as he huffed and puffed away. He started the competition at thirty two stone and lost twelve stone twelve pounds over the course of six months, that's 40% of his body weight, wow! I always thought he'd do well as he was a really determined person, but never thought he'd win.

The Biggest Loser and Masterchef both finish this week but starting next Wednesday is The Apprentice.  Having read the contestants profiles they come across as a vile bunch and my nominated hate figure is the one calling herself 'The Blonde Assassin' and I haven't even seen her in action yet. It promises to be one of the best series to date.

I have developed a worrying trait that I really must get out of. I find myself prefacing things with 'this time next year, when I've had my transplant'. I'm beginning to sound like Del Boy. I don't know why this is. Maybe it's because before transplant was a little bit like winning the lottery, a nice dream but unlikely ever to happen. Now it seems so close I can almost feel it and I spend hours trying to work out how I'm going to feel afterwards. I know there is going to be pain, a lot of pain, but it won't last and like childbirth I'll end up with something wonderful when it has gone. I also have panicky what ifs, what if I don't wake up, what if something goes wrong, what if  I don't feel any better afterwards. The sensible, grounded me knows that the transplant may not happen and there is still more of chance I will die before a donor comes available. The dreamer in me keeps brushing all that aside and is sure beyond doubt that it will happen, it will happen soon and everything will go as smooth as silk and it won't be long before I'm doing all the things I miss. Last night I dreamed I was in the gym lifting weights for goodness sake. Maybe only now I'm allowing myself to hope and to admit how important this operation is going to be for me. Maybe this latest scare has made me realise how close to the edge I really am. Either that or I'm finally losing it.

My Warfarin results came in the post this morning and I'm dead on target so they don't want to see me for ten weeks. I have never gone that long before and I'm really pleased. However this also means I'll have to wait for another conversation with Frank, still sacrifices have to made sometimes.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

To Be Perfectly Frank

It was Warfarin clinic time today and as I turned up exactly half way through my alloted hour, this is a new system where everyone gets a set time and day to ease congestion, I was less than amused to find people queuing out in the corridor. After fighting my way through to the reception desk I was informed that there was at least an hour to wait and told to find a seat, fat chance. As luck would have it as I passed a row of seats someone had their name called and I quickly nipped into the vacated seat and looking up was delighted to find I'd landed slap bang in the middle of my old ladies. This time they had a man with them, he was rather a nice old bloke and seemed rather taken with me much to the disgust of his female companions who shot daggers at me the entire time.

Frank, as he introduced himself, must have been all of eighty and clutched a very large wooden walking stick which he banged onto the floor when he was making an important point. He had a real twinkle in his eye and a keen interest in almost every subject known to man. Between us we covered politics, the recession, Syria, Afghanistan, rugby, the second world war and hospital food during the hour it took for Frank to get his name called. I must say I've never met anyone so interesting or chatty as Frank in the five years I've been attending the clinic, usually everyone sits there trying not to make eye contact. I suspect in his younger years Frank might have been a bit of a ladies man, he certainly got my old dears all of a flutter. While Frank was having his blood taken they all pointedly stared at me as though I'd been guilty of turning up at a WI cake day with a Tesco value sponge. They were even more outraged when he came to say goodbye to me before shuffling off to the waiting area for hospital transport. I suspect Frank, if he lives at the same home as my old ladies, is waited on hand and foot and no doubts passes his days flirting outrageously with every female he comes across. I really hope I meet Frank again even if it does make me persona non gratis with the rest of the group.

Tesco's was next on the list and I think every pensioner in Dunstable was there. In fact there were so many I was beginning to suspect a coach trip. The thing about pensioners is that they see the weekly shop as a chance to gossip and they really don't care where they do it. There were pensioners blocking almost every aisle and on every corner chatting away blissfully unaware that their trolleys were parked in such away no one could get past them. It was gone twelve by the time we managed to get out and I was grumpy, hungry and tired.

When we got home we were delighted to find that the replacement part for Peter's car had turned up So after a quick lunch I collapsed on the settee and Peter went out to start putting his car back together. He didn't get very far as it started to drizzle but at least he has started and with luck the car will be back on the road by the weekend.

In the news it seems that this week the scientists have got it in for red meat stating that it can be lethal. They say that eating red meat twice a day can raise the chances of dying from cancer or heart disease by a fifth.  Now there may well be people that eat meat twice a day but I certainly don't know of any. For one thing who can afford to eat red meat twice a day? On the other hand the study showed eating nuts increases you life expectancy by 20%, unless you are allergic to nuts of course. They are recommending swapping traditional roast beef with nut roast. I've had nut roast and I'll be taking my chances with the roast beef thank you very much. I get so frustrated by such reports as you can guarantee that next week someone else will come out with research that will say we need to eat more red meat. Now I eat red meat, I also eat nuts so am I increasing or reducing my life span? I learned long ago to ignore this sort of thing. I eat what I like, when I like as often as I like and by a stroke of luck have ended up with a fairly healthy diet. I will continue to eat red meat and suggest you do too, but maybe not twice a day.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Fur Is Flying

Had a bit of a scare again yesterday. I suddenly became very breathless and had a coughing fit that resulted in me spitting up a bit of blood. I remained fairly breathless throughout the day and my peak flows dropped  but this morning I'm fine again. No idea what it was but if it happens again I'll be taking myself off to the doc's.

I did watch the England/France match and stand corrected on something I wrote in my last blog. The outcome of this match really didn't matter in the end because France drew with Ireland and so were not going to get the Grand Slam anyway though they still could win the championship. The match was messy with neither side covering themselves in glory. For a while it looked like England would walk it but the French pulled back and in the end England won by only two points. Now all eyes will be on the Millennium Stadium next Saturday and you won't be able to get me off the settee with a crow bar.

Something else to look forward too next weekend is the start of the Formula One racing season. As usual I'll be backing the Brits and will be hoping that Jenson Button can win another title. Unfortunately half the races will not be shown live on the BBC because of some deal done with Sky. I don't really see that as much of a problem as long as I stay away from news channels until I get to watch the highlights. As I work some Sundays this is second nature to me as I often had to record races to watch when I got home so it won't really be any different.

It was really warm yesterday so I spend half an hour in the garden tentatively pulling weeds from my herb garden. Most of the herbs seem to have survived the winter, with one or two exceptions, but the garden desperately needs some TLC. I am now hoping for some more warm, dry days so I can get out there and do what's needed, with a little help of course. It was nice to see all the buds on the trees and bushes, another few weeks and I should have a riot of colour again.

In the news a high court has ruled that a man with 'locked in' syndrome has the right to continue his fight to seek protection for any doctor willing to help him end his own life. This man is totally paralyzed and has been for sometime and the only way he can end it all is by getting someone to administer the drugs for him. His argument is that doctors, like vets, should have the power to end the suffering of patients who have no chance of recovering from their condition. This is something I have thought for a very long time however recent events have made me less sure of my stance.

Recently there have been two stories in the paper of long term coma patients suddenly coming around. One man was in a coma for over ten years. If doctors were allowed to end the lives of patients 'with no chance of recovery' this man would have been dead years ago. Even more horrifying is that both coma patients could hear what was being discussed at their bedsides. Imagine hearing someone discussing ending your life and not being able to do anything about it. How horrendous would that be? So my thoughts now are that I do hope doctors are given this power but are only allowed to use it if the patient themselves are of sound mind enough to request it.

At present doctors are allowed not to help a patient live if a 'Do Not Resuscitate' or DNR instruction is put in their hospital records. This instruction is guaranteed to have been put in the records on the patients orders while they were still of sound mind and deemed not under any undue influence. I see no reason why people with progressive illnesses cannot have a similar instruction added to their records so that when the illness reaches a certain point the medical staff can put them out of their misery. Of course it won't be that easy. Patients can and will change their minds and of course there are the relatives wishes to taken into consideration. At the moment a person can sign as many donor cards as they can get their hands on but the relatives always get the final word and bizarrely the relatives wishes will always override those of the dead person's. This is going to take some working out and lots of safeguards put in place to prevent people being bumped off just because they are old and an inconvenience or a drain on resources.

Spring seems to have suddenly hit the cats. They are both moulting furiously leaving little piles of fur wherever they go. The annual battle for the position of top cat has also begun and they cannot pass each other without lashing out. They are both unusually active and instead of sleeping the day away they are now in and out of the cat flap like yo-yo's. Experience says they will revert back to their normal docile, lazy selves come April but until then I'll have to put up with living in a hairy war zone and give up wearing anything black.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Spend, Spend, Spend, Well Sort Of

I was up and out early today, well early for me, as I decided to bite the bullet and indulge in a little bit of retail therapy, something I am notoriously awful at. So we loaded up the wheelchair, all the scooters had been booked, and off we went.

Milton Keynes was really quiet when we arrived and we drove straight into a parking space right outside John Lewis which happened to be our first port of call. Our TV is about ten years old and beginning to show it's age. It takes ages to get going when you turn it on and HD it definitely isn't so I thought it was time to look for a replacement. Our choice was immediately limited because Peter won't buy anything made by Sony. don't ask me why, its some principle of his that I've long forgotten. It was a pity because there was a Sony that had been reduced and was at a really good price. After a lot of discussion we narrowed the choice down to two TV's, one Panasonic the other Samsung, and as we usually do decided to go and do our other shopping while we discussed them. As it turned out we really couldn't choose so we still don't have a new TV, yet. Hopefully we will make our choice before they sell out.

I fancied something really unhealthy and fattening for lunch so Burger King it was. Afterwards I felt a bit sick and had a raging thirst all afternoon. Maybe I shouldn't have gone that unhealthy as I imagined I could feel my blood pressure rising and my arteries furring up with every mouthful.

We were waiting for Andrew to catch us up when I spotted an old friend of mine from my time at Putteridge High School. Lyn was in the same department as myself and we often stuck together when the head and deputy head of department were having one of their little spats. We had a lovely chat where she informed me that Putteridge is going for academy status and will soon be known as Barnfield West Academy. What a shame. I hate all this academy nonsense, it destroys a school's personality and from what Lyn was saying I got the impression she didn't seem to keen on the idea either.

A spin around Boots netted me a mascara and some shower gel and then we were off home, some spending spree but I did nearly buy a TV.

Once home and armed with a lovely cuppa I settled down to watch the Wales versus Italy rugby match and I must say Wales did not get off to a promising start. Alls well that ends well though and by the final whistle Wales were very comfortably in the lead. I don't know what the Referee was doing, he seemed to be a bit of an idiot to be honest and liked the sound of his own voice. I really hope we don't have him in the next match. Next Saturday is the important one when Wales plays France. These two countries are the only ones left who could win the Grand Slam, though that could change tomorrow when France play England. Naturally I would love Wales to win the Grand Slam again so tomorrow I'll be watching the France/England match and for one of the very few times in my life I'll be cheering England on to win.

In the news the story that caught my eye was one where Coca-Cola and Pepsi have changed their recipes in order to avoid having to put cancer warnings on their drinks cans and bottles. The caramel colouring in the drinks will contain lower levels of 4-methylimidazole, which has been added to the list of carcinogens in California law. Worryingly the recipes will not be changed in Britain and we won't be getting the cancer warning either. Does that mean we are less prone to this chemical than Americans or are we just not so paranoid about what we put in our bodies? I suspect it is the latter of the two. We played host to one of Peter's American work colleagues a while ago and he wouldn't eat anything unless he'd read the label first. Even things such as milk, weetabix and bread was carefully scrutinized before he'd eat it though he was more than happy to down McDonalds burgers as though they were going out of fashion. Strange!

It is five hours since I had my burger and I'm still drinking like a fish, next time I say I fancy a burger somebody please hold me back.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

She's So Heavy

I've finally stopped coughing and spluttering when I wake up in the morning. Not only that but I'm now sleeping right through the night again so I'm waking up refreshed rather than half dead. My peak flows are rising at last and I've managed to break the 250 barrier with a reading of 260 this morning. My target is 300 so still a way to go.

Yesterday I felt well enough to go shopping with Peter and Andrew. We tackled Tesco in the morning then it was off to Costco in the afternoon. I managed to walk the whole time though I was dreadfully tired and needed to lean on Peter for support by the time we made it out of Costco. I slept for about an hour when we got home but was soon feeling fine again. Obviously I'm not fully recovered yet but today was a huge step in the  right direction.

When we got home Andrew decided to try his hand at making profiteroles. He's been on about trying them since Sunday when he saw them being made on TV. I've never made them so was unable to offer any advice or guidance so retired upstairs and let him get on with it. Two hours later the smell of burning drifted into the study and I decided to investigate. The kitchen was a bomb site and there was, what looked like, concrete in a saucepan. The first batch had not been a great success and were more like pancakes. After adjusting the mixture the second batch just burnt. He was so upset and angry. I helped tidy up and made sympathetic comments but it didn't really help. I think it might be a while before he tries them again. It took two goes through the dishwasher to clean the saucepan.

Last night I happened across a programme called 'The Big Body Squad'. I may have mentioned it before but what I saw was so shocking it is worth at least one more mention and quite frankly a bit of a rant.

This programme is devoted to the special ambulance crews who are trained to use super sized equipment to move super sized patients. These people are often so heavy they can't even move their bulk to clean themselves and so rely on an army of people, provided by the taxpayer of course, to do things for them. I shouldn't watch programmes like this as I can feel my blood pressure rising with every passing minute. What really, really gets me is the sense of entitlement that these people exude, they talk about having special hoists, lifts and chairs installed but show no signs of guilt or even gratitude for what they are getting. Only one person  said that they were grateful for the help they received. Even more shocking was not one of them showed any sign of wanting to change their situation. Well actually I tell a lie, one person did but only because he had come close to losing his foot due to diabetes brought on by his extreme weight.

The heaviest person on last night's show was a forty eight stone woman who had been moved from one house because she had literally outgrown it and was now in a home design to take her extreme weight. She had a toothache and needed treatment. The poor love complained to the camera that the tooth interfered with her eating as she could only chew on one side, what a shame. Unable to get to the dentist the dentist had to go to her. I had hoped that he'd take one look at her and wire her jaws together but he didn't and soon the tooth was restored to full working order.

What I really don't understand is where they are getting all the food. They are far too big to go shopping so someone must be buying it for them. If they are so big that they are costing the NHS millions don't you think someone would come up with a plan to help them as they are clearly beyond helping themselves. There should be some sort of bartering going on along the lines of you can have a carer but you have to agree to diet. Instead it seems they are allowed to, and indeed added and abetted, to continue to eat themselves to death while costing the rest of us a fortune. Disgraceful!

Peter's efforts to mend his car have been frustrated by the wrong sized part being sent to him. He now has to send the part he has back and wait for the correct size to arrive. The car has already been off the road for the best part of a week and I can tell he is getting frustrated. He's not the only one, I get nervous when we only have one car available to us. I never used to feel that way but for some reason in the last year or so I've liked the security of having a back up vehicle. Lets hope the new part doesn't take long to get here.

The news is all about the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan and quite rightly so. To loose so many in one go is a terrible thing and when you think that five out of the six were under twenty two years of age it makes it even more tragic. Some will argue that these men died doing what they wanted to do and knew the risks when they joined. That is fair enough but did they really expect to die in a conflict that the UK really should not have any part in? We went to Afghanistan because of our 'special relationship' with America. I'm sure if the ordinary people of the UK had been given a choice we would have stayed out of it. Now this conflict, the media doesn't like the word 'war' is costing us in lives and money, neither of which we can afford. I can't even remember why we are there. Time to leave I think.

In other news the Queen has started her tour of Britain to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and how is she traveling? By train it seems, what a sensible woman. It will be interesting to see if this was a one off or whether she intends to let the train take the strain for the entire tour.

Tomorrow if the weather is nice I might venture out into the garden to see what needs doing. Then all I've got to do is work out how much it's going to cost to bribe one of the boys into doing it for me.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Fit For Nothing

Woke up feeling so much better, although still a bit breathless on exercise I really feel I have turned a corner in the last two days. I was so hungry at lunch I was stuffing food into my mouth while I was cooking it as I couldn't get it on the plate fast enough. How bad is that! I'm back where I started weight wise but at this rate I shouldn't have any trouble putting it all back on again.

Despite feeling so much better I was forced to sit around twiddling my thumbs as I was waiting for the man from BOC (British Oxygen Company) to come and do an inspection. The inspection sounds scary but isn't. All he does is check I'm keeping my cylinders in a safe place, away from heat sources, and that I have working smoke alarms. The trouble is, like most services, they can tell you the day they are coming but not the time. When I asked I was told between 8am -4pm, helpful or what? When he did eventually turn up at twenty past two he stayed for less than ten minutes. Good job no one had taken the day off especially to wait for him .

Andrew got his letter confirming his acceptance of his place in uni so he is all set. Now he just has to hope he gets the grades needed or better in his A levels, the first results come out on Thursday. He should do really well if the amount of revision he did over Christmas is anything to go by. Having said that exams can do funny things to people. I could recite whole swathes of text books almost word for word right up until I was in my seat, then one look at the paper and it all disappeared. Nerves are horrible things.

Should have gone to the Warfarin clinic today but missed it partly because of waiting in for the BOC man and partly because in all honesty I just couldn't face it. The thought of sitting amongst a bunch of coughing, wheezing pensioners and possibly picking up yet another bug was just to much so I played it safe and stayed at home. I will go next week though when hopefully everything will have settled down and I'm back to normal.

The story that caught my eye in the papers this morning highlights just how screwed up our health service has become.

This is the story of a perfectly healthy five year old who happens to be tall for his age. His parents have just been told that he is overweight and will grow into a 'fat adult' after he was weighed as part of the government 'Fit 4 Life' scheme. What morons. If there is anything more guaranteed to give a child an eating disorder it is proclaiming that they are overweight when in reality they just don't fit the prescribed 'normality'. The pictures of this little boy show a child with long limbs but not an ounce of excess fat on him. Now this rather cute little boy keeps asking his parents if he is 'fat', showing that the seeds of doubt have already taken root. True the parents must share some of the blame for this anxiety because they chose to share the news with their child. The main fault, however, lies with the nosy do-gooders who once again have decide to tackle a problem by targeting everyone instead of focusing their efforts on those in need of intervention. Instead of using their eyes and common sense these people rely on the flawed, and proven to be so, BMI system. Even the Belgium inventor of the system said it should never be used as the only measure for weight problems, especially on children, so why are the powers that be so wedded to it? We've all heard the stories of super fit body builders and rugby players being declared obese when in reality the weight is down to muscle mass. No one in their right minds would tell these people to go on a diet and take more exercise. I have no doubt whatsoever that in five or ten years we will see results from this scheme but they will not necessarily be the results the government are hoping for. I suspect that the truly obese will remain so because just telling them to eat less and take more exercise won't work, they are already beyond advice like that. What we will have is an epidemic of anorexia or bulimia suffers who were told when they were perfectly normal children that they were overweight and would grow up to be fat.

If I'm better again tomorrow I'm going to attempt another stagger around Tesco. Andrew wants me to get stuff in so he can try his hand at profiteroles and I want to stock up on fruit now my appetite is returning. If the weather is really nice I might even take a turn around the garden so I can get depressed about how much needs to be done to get it ready for summer. Something to look forward too.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Raining In My Heart

My friend Miriam died on Saturday, I can't tell you how that has made me feel. I will never forget her kindness and wish she were still here to help me through the dark times. Rest in peace Miriam.

It has been a pretty depressing weekend all around really. Saturday was spent in front of the TV, again, or reading on the bed between dozes. I still cannot work out why I'm so damned tired.

The weather was exceptionally warm for this time of year, which was just as well as Andrew spent the day at a barbecue party. Peter busied himself washing the cars and I had a brief longing to get out in the garden but it passed quickly and I went back to bed.

Woke up on Sunday to a deluge and a surprise. Peter has been worried that I'd cut myself off from everyone except immediate family since becoming so poorly. This is true. Figuring I needed a change he took me along to a coffee morning arranged by his fellow Alfa fanatics. I was reluctant at first because as I was meeting people I did not know it meant having to make a real effort. So I washed my hair, first time in about four days, put in my contact lenses and applied some mascara and a dash of lip gloss. By the time I'd slipped on some jeans and a nice jumper I was feeling ten times better, amazing. The drive to the venue, Costa coffee at the Roaring Meg in Stevenage, was damp to say the least, rain was coming down in sheets and the roads had deep puddles everywhere but it was just nice to see the countryside. I was absolutely delighted when we drove past a field of lambs. The get together itself was only small, less than a dozen people, the weather putting most off and we only stayed about an hour but it was enough. Peter talked cars while I dug into a milky coffee and a rice crispy and toffee cake. I was happy just to listen, I know very little about cars, even though I took a basic mechanics course when I was younger. I certainly don't know about any of the things this lot were talking about, mostly modifications.

The rain continued to pour on the way home but soon turned to sleet and then to our astonishment snow. The car indicated that the temperature had fallen by 4.5c during the drive from Stevenage to home. It continued to snow for a good couple of hours and then stopped. Thankfully the ground was too wet for the snow to settle but we were convinced that if it started again overnight it might be a different story on Monday morning. While we were out Andrew had vacuumed and mopped all the floors downstairs and had started on lunch. After lunch I just lay on the settee watching Black Adder DVD's before dozing off again.

Today I woke to clear skies, low temperatures and a stiff wind rattling the windows. Thankfully no snow overnight and by the look of the roads no rain either. I lay in bed doing a quick audit and decided that I did feel a bit better. This was confirmed when I did my peak flows and blew a good 255, the highest I've blow in the morning for weeks. I even felt like breakfast, things must be looking up.

Drinking my morning cuppa my thoughts turned again to Miriam and how much I'm going to miss our chats. I also though about how much she enjoyed life despite the PH, she never let it slow her down if there was something she really wanted to do including dancing at the PHA conference while attached to oxygen. Whadda gal!

I hadn't been up more than ten minutes when I managed to break a glass, spill water all over my bedside table and soak my pillow. I then got screamed at by Peter for climbing up on a chair to reach a book down off a shelf and the cat threw up on Andrew's bed. Don't you just love Monday's.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Future's Bright.

A colleague from work whom I don't know very well, suffers from cystic fibrosis. Yesterday he received his long awaited heart, lung and liver transplant and is apparently doing well. I am so pleased for him and, I have to admit, a tiny bit jealous. John I wish you well and look forward to seeing you back at work healthy and happy.

Last night we hot footed it off to Laurence's for tea. Well we would have hot footed it if we hadn't been stuck behind a three car pile up on the M1. Arriving almost an hour late our host was totally unfazed and quickly settled us down in the living room where he showed off his latest purchases. A clock and a framed poster. Then he was off into the kitchen to prepare tea, unsurprisingly it was pasta with a arrabiata sauce with pancetta, it was very good. My appetite is still quite poor so I only had a small portion but at least I did manage to eat it. Having seen his well stocked cupboards and a bowl of fruit on the table I no longer have any worries about him living off junk. He has made his home very nice and kept it really clean an tidy, though I suppose living on his own and being out so often means it gets little opportunity to get dirty or messy. He has finally registered with a local doctor, not that he ever needs one, so all my worries have now been met and satisfied. After tea the others watched TV while I went through my drug prep and line change, no matter where I go I can't get away from that unfortunately.

My main worry now is Andrew, he is equally good in the kitchen but living in student digs is a far cry from living in your own home. He is going to have to share kitchen equipment and will face having his milk etc nicked from the fridge on occasions. I've no doubts he will learn to cope but I think the first term, while he is finding his feet, will be tricky. Andrew is far more happy go lucky and has far more confidence in himself than Laurence, who is a bit of a 'planner' and Andrew is more likely to rush in without thinking of the consequences. I have always worried more about Andrew than Laurence even though they have both spent their fair share of hours in the local A&E. As his course is rather full on, he has already been warned that terms are a lot longer for him than others, he only gets a week off at Christmas and the summer term doesn't end until August, he won't have time to get in any scraps. He will be doing twelve hour shifts with the London ambulance service including night shifts. I have no doubt he will enjoy it but it will be exhausting for him and I don't think he'll be so eager to cook for himself that much. I don't think his university experience is going to be quite as relaxed as he was hoping.

Had a letter from Harefield giving a summary of all the test results I've just had. They have put my chances of surviving the transplant at 85%, which I consider to be pretty good odds, with a 75% chance of making it through the first year, again pretty good. I had worse odds from my ablation so I don't think I have anything to worry about. It goes on to say I am 'physically well conditioned', makes me sound like a car, but it is nice to know my underlying fitness is still there. I was very, very fit before I was diagnosed and remained fairly active for as long as I could. Looks like all the effort has paid off, with a bit of luck it also may not take quite as long to get fit again post transplant.

My current health problem finally seems to be improving, I feel less washed out today and and am coughing a lot less. I've been here before of course only to go backwards. I am desperate to get back to work but I'm not going back until I am sure all the bugs have been throughly killed off. I'm officially on leave for two weeks from next Friday so even if the doctor says I'm OK to go back I will have a couple of weeks to relax and fully recover my strength. with a bit of luck, and with flu season nearly over, I might manage to stay in work for more than a week this time around.

I've had a really lazy day, I've watched a couple of films and then crashed out with the cats for a couple of hours. It is lovely to doze off surrounded by warm fur and purring. It seems my body really does know what it needs and at present it is craving rest and lots of it.

Finally I must tell you this really funny story.

Laurence has been looking for a dining table for some time now. He does have one but it is a very dark wood and he really wants something that will match the rest of his furniture which is much lighter. He's been keeping an eye on freecycle, ebay and gumtree in the hope something would come up. About two weeks ago it did. A lovely light oak table that would seat six. No chairs with it but he wasn't to bothered about that and the price was really good so he put in a last minute bid and won. A week later the new table arrived, by first class post, through the letter box. He had bought a dining table for a dolls house. We absolutely rocked with laughter and the little table is now proudly on display in his living room. Laurence himself admits that he'd missed several clues along the way including the word 'miniature' in the description and the cost, which was only £2.50 including postage. When asked how he thought he was getting a full sized table for that price he just shrugged and said he thought he'd found a real bargain, which set us all off again. It could have been so much worse and he has learned a valuable lesson, if it looks too good to be true it usually is.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Daydream Believer

I'm a bit down in the dumps truth be told. Having not made any real improvement in the ten days since I came out of hospital I went to see my GP who immediately diagnosed infection in both lungs and promptly put me back on antibiotics. I'm beginning to wonder just when this is all going to end. I've even started to  dream about what it would be like to have new lungs. In my dreams I'm often swimming or hill walking or running through trees in the sunshine. It is quite pathetic but I have no control over my sub conscious. This will be my ninth infection since November. No wonder I've been feeling so poorly and my weight has dropped like a brick. Still I've got something for it now and with a bit of luck it will act quickly and get me back on my feet by next week.

It hasn't all been bad news in the Roberts household this week though. Apart from passing his driving test on Tuesday Andrew found out yesterday that he has been accepted on the Paramedics course at University of Hertfordshire. This is excellent news because he had been building himself up for rejection believing he'd stuffed up the interview. So come September both our babies will have flown the nest. The good thing about this uni is that it is less than an hour away so Andrew will be able to come home at weekends if he wants too. It is going to be very strange just being the two of us at home again, I'm going to have to get used to cooking for two.

Peter has come to the conclusion that it is not the head gasket that has failed, apparently this is good news. He now thinks it is the valve seals????? Anyway this is not so bad and can be fixed fairly easily, thank goodness for that.

In the news there has been reports of the deaths of two people I admired for totally different reasons. One sought out a life of fame and fortune. The other would have preferred to remain anonymous if it meant getting his old life back.

The first death is that of Davy Jones front man with The Monkees. He is usually credited as the lead singer but it was Mickey Dolenz who actually sang the lead vocals on their biggest hits so I think front man is a more accurate description. The Monkees were manufactured to be America's answer to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and began life as a TV show but it wasn't long before their music was topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. They soon became one of the top rated boy bands in the world but their fame was short lived and it wasn't long before the cracks began to show and they finally parted company. I remember watching the TV show on a Saturday morning, I must have been eight or nine at the time and loved their music, they were my first pop idols. When Davy Jones' death was announced on the news I was genuinely shocked. I'd been watching a documentary he'd taken part in only a couple of days before and although he'd aged he looked healthy enough. Too be honest I always had my money on Peter Tork being the first to go as he has battled alcoholism most of his adult life and has been very ill at times. I think Davy was the youngest of the group. The cause of death was a massive heart attack, such a shame and he was only sixty six.

The second death, and possibly the saddest of the two is that of PC David Rathband. This poor man was unfortunate enough to be targeted by killer and all round lunatic Raoul Moat who decide to blast him in the face with a shotgun. PC Rathband lost his sight as a result of this attack and only saved his life by playing dead until his attacker moved off to find other victims. Despite all the help and support he got from family, friends and the police he couldn't come to terms with his injuries and gradually his life began to unravel. He did some really good things since being injured, he set up The Blue Lamp charity to help emergency service staff injured in the line of duty and took part in numerous events to promote his cause. It wasn't enough and could not replace the satisfaction he got from policing. Sometime yesterday he decided he'd had enough and ended his life. Some will say it was suicide but an awful lot more, including myself, will always believed he was murdered by Raoul Moat.

We are off to tea at Laurence's tomorrow, I'm hoping I'll be feeling a bit better by then and will actually be able to eat something. If not I will at least enjoy seeing him.