Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fancy A Curry?

Well the last few days have been a mixed bag to say the least.

I've barely seen Peter as he has had to work late this last few days and we are a bit like ships passing in the night. I managed a quick hello when I got in today and then he was gone. However my new shift patterns mean I am now home every weekend so we still get plenty of time together, yes there are some benefits.

The weather is still causing problems as far as my PH is concerned. I thought that once the snow had gone and milder weather took over things would ease up but now we have wind. Wind, although not as bad as snow, can make breathing quite difficult especially when it rips you oxygen cannula off your face. All I want is a nice mild wind free day with some sunshine thrown in, is that really too much to ask?

My campaign to gain weight seems to have ground to a halt and I'm having trouble putting those last few pounds on, however I haven't lost any weight so far either so that is a good sign. As part of my 'eat more' venture I've invested in some little rice pots you can buy with different flavoured sauces. Today I chose curry and all was going well until I dropped a huge forkful in my lap. Thankfully I managed to miss my crisp, white shirt but my trousers got covered and scrub as I might, with the limited cleaning equipment we have, the stain remained and not only that but I stank. I spent the rest of the day apologising to anyone who came near me and got mostly laughed at. I've only one day left this week so I'm rather reluctant to give my trousers a full wash so I've used a liquid soap and some elbow grease and I think they might just past mustard for tomorrow. Talking of which I might just stick to sandwiches, either that or invest in a bib.

I had a heart stopping moment this morning when I got a missed call on my mobile from a withheld number. I could see my phone flashing at me but I was in the middle of something and couldn't answer it in time. I quickly rang Peter and yes it was Papworth but they just wanted to check when my next Brompton visit was going to be, drat!

Talking of Papworth news came today that my fellow PH sufferer Sita is recovering well from her transplant and is now texting and talking and sitting up. After such a worrying time everyone has heaved a sigh of relief and I for one cannot wait to see her posting again on the PH forum.

Dancing On Ice Watch

Well what can I say? This might well be my very last week of watching. I don't even know who got booted out as we chose to watch a film and I forgot to record the results show. If anyone can enlighten me I'd be very grateful.

On the other hand the Six Nations Rugby starts on Saturday and I cannot wait. I've got my Welsh ruby shirt on standby and will probably scream myself hoarse but I love it.  And please nobody ask me for a prediction of the winner because I'm every so slightly biased.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Life Of Pies

I love pies.

Sweet or savoury it really doesn't matter, if it's encased in pastry I'm in heaven. So with that in mind don't you think it is rather odd that I've never made one? Well so do I, something I'm about to rectify this very afternoon. I'm about to embark on my very first blackberry and apple pie. I've decided to go for the sweet option for two reasons. I have some left over apples and blackberries and need to use them up. I love savoury pies so much, especially steak and ale pie, that I want to get a bit of practice in as to mess that up would be a tragedy.

As with cakes, pastry is not my forte and I either end up with a sticky mess or something so dry it resembles cardboard so I cheat and get ready made in, which is what I've done this time. I'm hoping that just rolling it out and slapping it on top of all that lovely fruit and sugar will do the job, after all I can't really mess something so simple up, can I?

The snow vanished in the blink of an eye last night when we were subjected to heavy rain and high wind. What a change a couple of days make. According to my weather station 15mm of rain fell over night, it doesn't sound much but combined with all the melting snow everywhere is pretty soggy this morning. What I hate most about the snow going is how dull everywhere looks.

While I'm writing this I've got one eye on the tennis where Murray is playing Djokovic in the final, so far it is one set all and dead even in the third set. My blood pressure on the other hand is going up and up. I would love Murray to win as I really think this could be his year but Djokovic is a formidable opponent, not known for giving in easily. I have a feeling this will go to five sets with tied breakers all the way.

Apart from the making of the pie I have a totally free day. I have done all the little jobs I had lined up this weekend and am looking forward to an afternoon of sloth before four days of work. To top it all we won't have to drive down to Hatfield this afternoon to take Andrew back to college. He will be able to go on his bike which both makes me relieved and worried. I am relieved that he has his independence back while at the same time dreading the thought of him shooting down the motorway. That's the trouble with being a mum, you are never happy.

The change of weather has made a dramatic if positive change to my breathing and I feel better than I have in days. I've managed to abandon my oxygen while moving around the house and my lips have turned back to their gentle lavender shade so things are definitely looking up. We've even managed to turn the heating off for a few hours this morning as we were getting too hot!

Well I'm afraid the tennis has won and I just have to go and sit and watch it rather than 'just keep and eye'. With a bit of luck I will be a very happy bunny this afternoon, but i wouldn't count on it.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Keep Calm And Keep Writing

As of yesterday we still had snow and, God help us, we were expecting another 5 - 10cms last night Which thankfully didn't arrive. On the other hand Andy Murray is through to the final of the Australian open so I wouldn't have minded being snowed in on Sunday at all. This morning though the snow  is thawing and we have a temperature above freezing, practically summer.

It was a busy morning on Friday with the Warfarin clinic and a trip to Tesco's taking up most of the morning. Both, unfortunately, were pretty uneventful. The clinic was unusually efficient and I was in and out in under thirty minutes, while Tesco was grave like. I suppose with the snow, the post Christmas blues and the schools being back there were a lot fewer people about.

In the afternoon we went off to Hatfield to pick up son number two in the hope that this Sunday he'll be able to ride back on his motorbike. He rode up to visit just before the snow hit and his bike has been grounded ever since. With the forecast saying the big thaw will set in today we are all hoping this will be our last trip down the motorway and he will get his independence back.

The weather is playing havoc with my PH.

Every time I venture outside I'm in agony. The cold air causes pain like you wouldn't believe and my breathing just gets worse and worse. I'm not so bad indoors in the warmth though sometimes changing from warm to cold or cold to warm so suddenly leaves me feeling dizzy and light headed as I gasp for breath. Using the oxygen helps a bit as does covering my nose and mouth with a scarf but nothing is fool proof unfortunately. Of course the cold weather also effects my skin and I am aware that my lips and finger nails are almost always blue now but in this weather they are almost black. I could quite easily audition for a zombie movie and I'd save them a fortune in make up too.

Those that know me and see me regularly don't pay much attention but yesterday I had to go and see the Occy Health doctor. He is new and has only seen me once before. At our last meeting there was a look of terror in his eyes as I clanked in with oxygen tank and pump attached. I have a feeling he has never met a PH patient before. This time his jaw dropped when he saw me and he wanted to know if I would like to go home. I reassured him that this was 'normal' me when it's cold but I don't think he was too convinced.

A friend of mine and fellow PH sufferer had a nasty experience yesterday. Stacie also writes a blog about her experiences, the link is on the sidebar of this blog, and very good it is too. In her latest blog she was talking about the possibilities of going onto the Flolan pump and the fact that she has been on the transplant list for nine months now. To her utter astonishment she received an email from one of her followers that was less than supportive. The writer said she also had PH and was wheelchair bound and yet had not even been put forward for transplant yet. She wanted to know what right my friend had to be put on the list when she was clearly not as ill as the emailer herself. This naturally upset my friend as secretly we all feel guilty about being put on the list when there are so many others denied the chance. However that doesn't give an embittered, sorry for this, bitch the right to be so nasty to someone just because they have something she doesn't have.

Now I suppose I am fortunate in the fact that I can see a little bit of both sides of the coin.

I was denied transplant and my goodness was I upset. However, and I'm sure my PH friends will correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think I was ever bitter or nasty to those who had got onto the list even though the jealousy burned strong for a while. After being put on the list I can understand feeling a little guilty about it knowing how many miss the mark so I know how both the emailer and the recipient must feel. Unfortunately being ill doesn't automatically make you a good person and those of us who choose to write openly about our lives just have to remember that and carry on. I hope this will not put Stacie off being so open in her blogs because it is her openness that makes them so interesting to read.

In the news I fell about laughing at a scandal that erupted earlier this week over a puppet show for the under fives. The BBC unwittingly aired a Tweenie programme that contained a puppets that looked like Jimmy Savile. My God, such a heinous crime! Parents were ringing in in their droves and at least a hundred complaints were received. Honestly these parents really need to get over themselves. Do they really think their little babies are going to be corrupted by a puppet that looks vaguely like a dead person? The under fives will have no knowledge of Jimmy Savile or his crimes, to them it is just another funny puppet that makes them laugh. OK, I agree that the BBC could have taken more care about what they were showing when the subject is still so sensitive and the investigation is still on going but there has to be sense of proportion.

Jimmy Savile existed, he existed in a very public way. During that time he did some truly awful things but at the same time he did some truly good things too. Stoke Mandeville hospital would not be where it is now without Savile's tireless fund raising for instance. Jimmy Savile cannot be wiped from history so we are all going to have to live with what has happened and eventually move on. Jimmy Savile is dead so no punishment can be laid upon him but we can learn from the experience and put measures in place to prevent a similar situation arising in the future. We can't turn back the clock and we can't kick up a fuss every time his name of image appears.

Well I have hungry mouths to feed and a pile of ironing waiting for me. Fortunately I also have Silent Witness recorded to watch while I'm doing it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Hmmm, I don't know whether I should be writing this blog or not. I'm tired, fed up and so bored I could chew my own feet off.

The new shift patterns have come in and I don't think I was quite prepared for enormity of the change. I'm having difficulty with the extra noise and heat all the extra bodies bring and I'm finding it quite stressful working with people who I don't know. I was comfortable with my old group as they knew me and got used to me when I was fairly well. The new people tend to be a bit taken aback when I walk in with my oxygen and my pump and it's all a bit awkward. I've come home with a nagging headache the last two days and I'm sure that's down to a mixture of the stress and the noise. It doesn't help that I'm being bullied again. Hey ho, I don't know what it is the culprits hope to achieve by their actions but if their lives are so boring they have to try an make mine a misery then so be it. On the plus side leaving two hours earlier than normal means driving home in daylight, which has to be a bonus. It doesn't mean much now, except more time in front of the TV but come summer, provided we have a summer, I can see a couple of hours being spent in the garden with a good book.

Still everything takes a bit of getting used too and it would be unfair to moan without giving things a fair go. Things, as they are apt to do, will work themselves out in the end I'm sure. And when we are used to the new arrangement I'm sure we will get on fine.

The snow still lies thick around the village and more was falling as I drove home thins afternoon. Although the main roads are now clear of the stuff my road is a slushy mess that freezes overnight making getting out in the morning a bit of a trial. I have to say I am way past 'over it' now. I've had a few dodgy moments in the car park at work where I've almost slipped over and this is one thing that terrifies me. Not only will I be like a turtle on its back with the oxygen tank etc but I can't get the warning my consultant gave out of my head.About two years ago during the last really bad bout of snow I'd struggled in for an appointment and when I got there he gave me a dire warning. He related a tale of a PH patient who had slipped in the snow, punctured a lung and bled to death. If anything is going to make you watch your step in icy weather a tale like that will.

To cheer myself up I've been looking at possible holidays in warmer climates.

It is all pie in the sky at the moment of course as I can't get a 'fit to fly' letter. However I can dream and so far I've pencilled in Australia, thought that might be tad too hot right now, Cyprus, Rome and Hawaii. Two I've already visited and two I have not. The only competition is which one to go for first when I'm finally well again.

And so the tricky question of whether to stay put or leave raises it's head again. I've decided to grab the bull by the horns and have written off to find out how much retraining I'd need to return to teaching and at what cost. If I can do it as home study, there is nothing to stop me starting now in anticipation of a new life to come. I know I'm going to have a lot of time for study as I recover from transplant but it does no harm to make a tentative test of the water now. After all if I'm going to have to deal with playground bullies I may as well deal with the real thing and get paid a hell of a lot more for doing so.

Well I'm off to get a cuppa and relax. Last day tomorrow and then three glorious days off, can't wait.

Monday, 21 January 2013


No not me but the dozens of kids on the hill outside my house who live in the same village as the school but for some reason cannot get there.

This is one of my pet peeves, it was when I was a teacher and it still is. When I was at school (at a pupil) we walked there whatever the weather. If the heating broke down we sat in freezing classrooms with our coats on. The only time I ever remember being sent home from school was when a pipe burst and the toilets stopped working but we were back the next day.

Of course today's children face so many more hazards on the way to school these days than we did. I mean every single male in a car must be a paedophile and if they are not then they must be drunk, on drugs or just a plain dangerous driver just waiting to mow down the first child that dares to set foot on a zebra crossing. OK, I will allow that there are more cars on the road than there were in my day but that is mostly because every parent drives their kids to school now. And of course snow makes all these dangers so much worse and so terrifying that all children must be kept at home for 'health and safety' reasons. Excuse me but what is so safe about going backwards down a hill on a tea tray or pelting passing traffic with snowballs? If they were at school they wouldn't be able to risk a broken leg or cause a car crash, where is the health and safety when these things happen? Which they will, and do.

What today's parent don't realise that they are in fact their children's worst enemies. The drive to school denies their kids so much. Apart from the obvious health benefits of a good walk during a day when the majority of the time will be spent sitting down, today's fearful parents are raising a generation of even more fearful children. What's even worse they are preventing these children from learning to deal with the outside world. Learning to be safe when out and about is something that you can only learn with practice. By all means walk with your child until you are happy that they can do it by themselves or do as I did, get a group of kids together so they walk with each other, the old 'safety in number ploy'.

Of course the schools are not blameless in this.

Not only are today's parents more fearful they are also more litigious, ready to sue anyone at a drop of a hat. Whereas in my day if little Johnny fell over in the playground and broke his arm is was an accident. Now it is a financial opportunity. Unfortunately schools and councils, rather than stand up to this nonsense are more inclined to waste a day of education to protect their budgets than run the risk of a large payout.

And talking of injuries in the snow...

Dancing on Ice Watch

Well I'm sorry but I wasn't impressed. Before last night's show there was the usual health scare drummed up in order to try and inject a little suspense and anticipation into the event. Now I'm not saying Beth Tweedle wasn't ill, I just think that maybe the show's producers over egged the pudding a bit to add a little drama.

However the real drama came when Oona found herself in the skate off with Welsh rugby hunk Gareth. Anyone with a brain knew how this one was going to end including Oona. The result was so obvious that really they could have just bypassed the skate off and given her the flowers. However in the faint hope that Gareth would fall over, catapulting his partner into the audience as he did so, the skate off when ahead.

Gareth went first and was near as damn it perfect. Then it was Oona's big moment and knowing that there was no way they were going to beat Gareth her partner went for the sympathy vote in a big way. It didn't look like much of a fall, we'd seen worse in the endless 'practicing' videos before each dance, but looks can be deceiving and ice hard. Mark had managed to dislocate his shoulder which was promptly popped back and with much rolling of said shoulder he heroically carried on. It was all in vain though and despite much sympathy the judges vote Oona off.

Well after all that excitement I decided I needed a drink and poured myself a very small Baileys then settled back to watch Poirot.

Today I'm rushing around trying to get things done before going back to work tomorrow. As you know all our shift patterns change from tomorrow and this means I only get two days off between shifts this week when I usually have four. At least it is only for this week but I have a feeling I'm going to be a very tired little bunny come Thursday.

Well best get to it, I have my uniform to iron this afternoon and then the floors to wash, snowy feet make a terrible mess on wooden floors, and then I'm putting my feet up for the afternoon.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I Want To Go For A Walk

Someone at work asked me yesterday what I'd want to do once I'd had my transplant and without hesitation I said 'go for a walk'.

I know I should be saying things like 'promote organ donation' or 'run a marathon for PH' or 'trek across the Andes', and I will do things like that, things that I'd put off until I had time or could afford it, but right now I just want to go for a walk. The sheer joy of just pulling on my thermals and hiking boots and setting off along snowy bridal paths to lose myself for an hour or two is a far away ambition at the moment. Doesn't it sound silly that something so mundane should become an all consuming ambition.

Quite understandably my colleague said she understood but the wry smile that went with it gave away the fact that she didn't, not really and not in a bad way. My colleagues are terribly understanding and as a group probably know more about PH than most GPs surgeries, having lived with it for the last three years. However unless you have a condition it is impossible to really understand how it feels. I, for instance, didn't understand the sheer terror cancer can bring until I was told I could have it. I never want to feel like that again. So for her the thought of going for a walk as an ambition was a sort of non ambition because she can do it anytime she wants and without thinking beyond what to wear. For her an ambition is trekking across the Andes or similar. And now I'm going to turn all Del Boy but this time next year maybe I will feel the same, though I think it is more likely that I will be giving thanks to my donor and be in awe of the miracle that gave me my life back, here's hoping.

This week has been both difficult and uplifting.

The snow has made life really difficult, my breathing is laboured and my chest feels like someone is sticking knives into it. There have been times when the pain has been so sharp and caught me so suddenly that I've nearly cried out in the middle of the office, that would have sent everyone into a panic. Don't get me wrong I love snow, the sheer beauty of a white field totally untouched is one to behold, driving in it is another matter. On Friday, when the snow was really coming down I was eighteen miles away from home helping others who had crashed or broken down. So when it rolled around to six and it was my turn to pick my way home I was more that a little nervous. Fortunately I made it to the duel carriageway and then onto the motorway both of which were relatively clear. It was the last mile into my village that caused the most problem as I slipped and slithered along the narrow country roads until finally I made it to my driveway and safety. I was tired, cold and in pain so had a hot tea got changed into my woollies and collapsed in front of my TV knowing full well I was going to have to do it in the other direction the next morning. Thankfully by then all the roads had been gritted and ploughed.

The uplifting part was getting awarded a citation for my parting in a very traumatic incident at work. I was invited to attend an award ceremony on Thursday night and although it meant staying out late on a school night, I've never been awarded anything before so I was determined to go. It was a lovely evening though I left as soon as the ceremony was over and celebrated with a bag of chips on the way home. Peter is going to frame my certificate and hang it on the wall. I have to say I was more excited than when I got my degree. I worked bloody hard for my degree so felt I deserved it, the award was a complete surprise and therefore more exciting.

Next week I start my new shift pattern which means for this weekend only I only have two days off instead of my usual four. However I only work three days next week and for shorter hours so I'm hoping I will manage. Then it is back having three rest days and no more weekend working. I decided that it was time to shorten my hours a bit and by finishing at four instead of six I should always making it home in daylight. Hopefully my health will improve and I will have less sick days on the new pattern as I won't be so tired. After three years of ten hours days I think it is time I took it a bit easier, don't you?

Today it is snowing again but today all I have to do is put my feet up and relax, that is after I've made lunch, stripped the beds and washed the towels.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Opt Out To Save Lives

Today's visit to the Warfarin clinic came without any drama today, which is just as well as I wasn't in the mood. I hate going out when it is cold my breathing just gets worse and worse and my chest aches like hell in cold weather.

Fortunately I was in and out in no time, and then, after a quick dash around Tesco's, it was back home to warm up and a couple of hot tea's to warm me from the inside.

Andrew is taking the first of his exams today and I'm anxious. I know he will be fine but for me exams were always an ordeal so I probably worry more than he does. I will call him this evening to find out how they went.

I'm making a special appeal in today's blog. A few weeks back I asked everyone to sign up on the NHS organ donor list but this appeal, although donor related, is slightly different.

Our country is one of the few, especially in Europe, who have an 'opt in' scheme for donors rather than the 'opt out' system other countries run. It is no coincidence that there is a chronic shortage of donated organs in the UK and three people a day die waiting for a transplant because of this system. To put it in context, I was placed on the transplant list on 21st December 2012, that's twenty five days ago, and in that time seventy five people will have died because there wasn't an organ available to save them.

So what does 'opt out' mean? Well, rather than having to sign up to be a donor, consent is assumed when you die that you want your organs to be given to someone else, unless that is, you give specific instructions that only some or none of your organs can be used. If this scheme comes into being here it will instantly double or even triple the amount of organs available and therefore cut the number of deaths on the waiting list accordingly. Research shows that almost 90% of those interviewed would consider being a donor but only 50% or less ever get around to signing up.

However as always our government keeps putting the debate on changing the system on the back burner so in order to force the issue we need 100,000 signatures on our petition to get the issue discussed in the commons and stop it being put off. Please follow the link below and give people like me a chance.
Thank you.  

In the news I was shocked to hear the HMV has gone to the wall, yet another big name off our high streets. The main reason was competition from Internet sales. Have none of these retailers learned yet that if they charge ridiculously high prices of course customers are going to go elsewhere? Surely it's not rocket science is it? I was even more shocked to find that vouchers and gift cards will not be honoured. I'm sorry but they must have know they had problems when they were busy selling hundreds of the things over Christmas. In my mind that is little short of fraud as they were selling them unsure if they could ever be redeemed.

Well it is back to work tomorrow, I'm praying it does not snow overnight, I suspect that with one week to go before the new shifts start it is going to be a bit tense. Next blog Sunday.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Oh We Have A Snowflake!

Well we did have snow after all.

It wasn't much but enough for Andrew to decide that it would be unsafe to travel by bike. He was probably right, I have memories of Laurence skidding down the road on his back after coming off his bike on the way to work one snowy morning. It was after that he invested in four wheels. Peter drew the short straw and played taxi and got him to uni in time for his lecture, we will have to pick him up again on Friday, by which time hopefully the snow will be gone, so he can collect his bike.

My worry is whether it will still be here on Wednesday when I have to travel to work in the dark. I have a fear of driving in snow ever since a big accident about ten years ago. I'm not talking big accident as in 'spent weeks in hospital' but more 'blocked motorway'.

I was travelling down the motorway to get to work and the road was snow covered but the traffic had made tracks so where you actually drove was snow free. I was behind an articulated lorry and it was stop go all the way. We were going up a hill when we ground to a halt again but we were stopped for a lot longer than on previous occasions. I was fiddling with my radio trying to find some traffic news when I glanced up and saw the back of the lorry sliding towards me. I cannot describe the feeling of terror as this wall of metal got closer and closer or the feeling of helplessness knowing I could do nothing to get out of the way. Fortunately the damage was slight, I lost my bumper and headlights and gained a dent in my bonnet but, apart from palpitations, I was fine. The lorry must have stopped on a patch of ice because the driver was as shaken as I was and couldn't understand what had happened as he'd got his handbrake on. The problem was we were in the middle lane and I was unable to reverse to free myself as every time I tried the lorry slid a bit more and when the lorry driver tried to pull away his wheels just spun and got nowhere. It seems that the weight of my car was just enough to stop the lorry sliding further so we ended up having to wait for recovery and because I had no headlights I could not continue my journey and so missed work. My car was returned to me all nicely repaired at the lorry company's expense but ever since then I've hated driving in snow and never sit behind a lorry going up hill if I can possibly help it regardless of the road conditions.

I went out to refill my bird feeders this morning and had to dress like Nanook of the North to do so. I had so many layers on I could hardly bend and I was still freezing. Still the birdies won't starve and I'll get to watch some feathery squabbles this afternoon, camera at the ready.

I weighed myself this morning and am pleased to report that I'm back up to 7 stone 11 pounds, which is probably due to an influx of doughnuts and the finishing off of the cheeses. The target of eight stone still eludes me but at least I've put back on the bit I lost last week. It feels really strange to be on an 'eat everything' diet while everyone else is on a 'eat nothing' diet but that's January for you and it seems I'm having the same level of success that my colleagues are having. They can't shift it, I can't gain it.

Dancing On Ice

Oh dear could it get any worse, well yes it could and it did.

Apart from Joe Pasquali it was a lack luster cast of mostly nobodies, except a certain Welsh man that is. Why are people from reality shows, and bad reality shows at that, now being classed as celebrities? Fortunately the girl from Essex skated like a wardrobe and so was booted out pretty smartish. Next week all the celebs will be skating, apparently this is something to get excited about. So will I watch next week, well frankly I doubt it but you never know, if we are snowed in and I'm bored rigid I might tune in just to see Matt and Gareth, who to his credit was very graceful considering he is a rugby player.

So who will win? Well my heart says Gareth, because he's Welsh, but my head says Matt because he is the best skater there by far. Now I've said it both will crash and burn, just watch and see.

In the news the headline story is of course the weather.

I found it highly amusing that channel 5 chose to show 'The Day After Tomorrow' last night, a film about the coming of the new ice age. Coincidence or a sense of humour, you decide.

As for our news channels well there are endless snippets of reporters standing in windblown fields with a scattering of snow on them or on a motorway bridge being buffeted by the odd snowflake and trying to convinced us that its 'blizzard conditions out here.'

The trouble with us Brits is we are never happy with the weather we've got. It is always to cold, hot, dry, wet, icy, or windy and the reason we are all so obsessed with the weather? Well it gives us an excuse to indulge in our favourite pass time, having a good old moan. The problem is that although our weather is very varied it is rarely that extreme, OK 2012 was a bit wet, but on the whole we don't get the same sort of weather disasters that other countries get but boy would we like to, now that would really give us something to moan about. So in the absence of any real extreme weather we pretend, hence the mass panic at the first flake of snow.

Well I'm off to turn the heating back on and prepare a hot curry for lunch. If that doesn't warm me up nothing will.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Snow Joke

Why is this country so bad at dealing with snow?

Canada, Russia, and parts of the USA deal with huge snowfalls every year without so much as blinking. We get six snowflakes and the whole of the transport system grinds to a halt.

Now normally I do news stories at the end of my blog but this one annoyed me so much I just couldn't wait to comment. The source of my anger appeared in the Mail on Sunday where it is reported that Heathrow have already announced twenty five possible cancellations in anticipation of the snow that we are expected to get overnight. Now it seems we don't even need real snow for chaos to loom large, we just need the threat of snow to do the job. How pathetic have we become?

OK now I've got that out of the way back to yesterday.

I had the most wonderful afternoon in the company of friends. We laughed to the point of crying and covered a myriad of subjects, too numerous to mention. Diana and Clive were delighted to see Andrew and he enthusiastically related stories from his placements to them. I hope they were not too grossed out or bored. We've been invited to see their daughter in her village panto and I must say I'm eager to go, it is just a matter of comfirming who is coming with me before I order the tickets. So far both Andrew and Peter have expressed interest but Andrew in particular will have to check he is free before we commit. As it is we have made a firm date for another get together at the end of February and I'm so looking forward to it already.

I had such a bad night last night. No particular reason but I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep, on top of that I was freezing one minute and boiling the next. I had a real fear that I'd caught something else, there are still a lot of poorly people about, but this morning I feel fine. Even my sore throat that has plagued me since my flu bout seems to have cleared up at last. I suppose I'll just have to put it down to one of those things and hope for a better night tonight.

After my guests had gone I settled in for a night in front of the TV and watched a bit of 'Splash'. This is a programme where Tom Daley teaches celebrities to dive. Oh. My. God. I have never seen such drivel in all my life. I lasted approx ten minutes then changed channel whilst putting 'Splash' down on my 'not even if I'm so bored I could chew off my own feet' category.

In the end after find nothing worth the TV licence, what happened to Saturday nights they used to be the best night of the week, we decide on a film. This time we chose Casino Royale, I'm told we have watched it before but I could remember nothing about it so maybe it is one I've slept through. Whatever the reason I was entranced and rate it as one of the better attempts even though I don't like Daniel Craig in the role.

Tonight's TV doesn't look like being any better but there is Dancing On Ice. I've decided to give this another go, mainly to see the other set of celebrities, whether I will make it through to the end remains to be seen. If they put Christine Bleakley in a box and gagged her that might help.

So back to the news.

And it is snow once again, I listened to the weather forecast on the radio where the announcer advised commuters to 'take extra time' when travelling in to work tomorrow as driving conditions would be difficult. OK, fair enough to give a warning but should we be panicking this early and why should we be panicking at all? We've had a week's warning of this so if they grit the roads properly and keep the snowploughs going throughout the night why should there be a problem? Well the answer is obvious, the councils will not grit the roads properly or keep the roads open by sending the ploughs out all night because it costs too much. They'd much rather cause chaos and cost the emergency services and the economy billions sorting out the resultant mess. How wrong can you get your priorities?

Also in the news is the report into the Savile scandal. And it turns out to be much bigger than first thought. Over six hundred victims have come forward since the scandal broke, some as young as ten, some as old as their forties. It seems no one was safe from this man, who hide behind his persona and charity work to such an extent no one could shop him for fear of not being believed. And let's be realistic here, the 70's and 80's were a different time, women were still fighting for true equality and children were still expected to be seen and not heard. He was a famous, powerful man renowned for his good works and generosity. Who is going to believe a ten year old girl who claims 'Uncle Jimmy' raped her?

Although it must be some relief for the victims that their stories have now been heard and believed it must be a hollow victory as 'Uncle Jimmy' is way beyond justice in this life.

Well the kitchen is calling, I'm attempting something I haven't tried before, Toad in the Hole, wish me luck.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Looking Forward

Excuse me if I seem a little tetchy in this blog but my computer is doing a load of updates and keeps trying to reboot itself despite me repeatedly clicking on the 'reboot later' tab. Don't you just love technology?

Well I did it! My first full week in eighteen months and although I was really tired yesterday I wasn't exhausted and after a good night I feel well and refreshed this morning. I have one last week to do and then we go to the new shift patterns and I start my part time hours. It still means an early start but I will be home by half past four so I'm knocking two hours off my day. I know it doesn't seem a lot but I have the option to reduce them even further if I want to, which might be needed at some point.

I am actually quite excited about next week as I am attending an awards ceremony on Thursday. Yes I've finally done something worthy of an award. I must admit I'm at a bit of a loss as to what exactly, especially after the crap year I've had but it is something to look forward to and a rare night out.

I have another goal added to my aims for the future. It is not going to happen this year, I've already blown that but all being well I could do it in 2014. Some of my colleagues have received letters congratulating them on 100% attendance. Oh what a dream that would be to get one of those.

I've also been chatting to my transplant buddy. It is ten months since his transplant and he looks so fit and well, I'm really envious. He did tell me something really encouraging though. He was put on the transplant list in January and had his transplant in March and he had also been told he'd be in for a nine or twelve month wait. It is nice to know that some people do get their calls much quicker than predicted as I'm not the most patient of people. However in my head I've resigned myself to a longer wait while also hoping for a quick result. Sometimes I almost scream with frustration that I haven't been called (it has been only three weeks) and at other times I hope it doesn't come yet because I have too much to do and I'm not sure I'm really ready. I have stopped jumping at every phone call though so I'm obviously getting used to things.

I sometimes think I'm going a bit crazy because I've started daydreaming about doing the things I miss. I've imagined myself walking up the stairs in work, a feat I've never achieved. Or walking down the road to the post box. Jumping into the warm waters of a swimming pool and jogging around the village listening ot Ozzy blasting away in my ears. These are things I have tried not to think about as they are the things I really miss. I know they are silly little things but they become huge when you can no longer do them. Sometimes I can even feel the wind in my hair or smell the chlorine. How weird is that? Peter says it is just because I've got my hope back but I think I'm just mental.

Andrew is back home only a week after returning to uni. He has exams coming up in two weeks and is finding it hard to study in his digs where there is so much noise and people coming in and out all the time, especially at weekends. So he has come home for some piece and quiet and will return tomorrow. I am actually quite pleased because my best friend, who also happens to be his God mother is coming around today and as she hasn't seen him for ages it will be nice for the two of them to catch up.

Laurence has had a terrible cold so is wisely staying away. He took his first sick day in two years because of it so it must have been bad. Luckily he is now on the mend and will call me tomorrow with an update.

Well better get too it, although the house is still tidy from Christmas there are a few paw prints that need removing from the coffee table and some fur that needs vacuuming off the settee. Sometimes I think the cats reckon they own the place.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Depression On Ice

I went out briefly this morning to pick up some fruit for the week ahead and on the drive back couldn't help but think how gray everything looked.

January must be my least favourite month. Everything looks so dead and there is absolutely nothing to look forward to apart from bad weather. At least with February you start to see some signs of life in snowdrops and daffodils.

Back home I drank a cuppa while gazing out onto the wreck that is my garden. A combination of having been quite poorly, and the near constant rain in 2012 meant I have been unable to do anything to the garden at all. So the old bulbs remain in place and hopefully will flower again soon if they haven't rotted, and the new ones remain in the their bags. The Forsythia needs a trim and the brambles are gathering strength. It is so depressing. If only I was well I'd be out there in all weathers just getting things straight. What really breaks my heart is the herb garden where the sage has practically taken over smothering my precious thyme and oregano. Oh well one day, hopefully soon, I will be able to sort it out.

The house is very quiet.

Peter managed to sort the leak in the airing cupboard out and after a nervous night, wondering of the repair will hold, I have my airing cupboard back and the landing is once again clear of tools.

We took Andrew back to university later than planned because of the panic and he too felt a bit down. He is missing Svet, doesn't like his room mate and has exams coming up. A great start to the year. However on arriving at his digs we were amazed to find no trace of said room mate and we were left speculating as to whether he has left, been kicked out (he rarely attended lectures) or is just very late coming back. Andrew, of course, hopes he's gone as he hated sharing a room with someone who hadn't changed his bed sheets for an entire term. I can see his point.

So without any kids we settled down to watch The Iron Lady. Much had been made of this film when it came out and I was hoping to be in for an absorbing couple of hours but I only lasted thirty minutes. The constant flash backs irritated me and the presence of the dead Dennis was confusing. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood but I just could not watch it. Instead we shared a can of cider while watching the Matrix, an excellent film and one I haven't watched for a while.

Since being put on the transplant list Peter has stopped his usual Saturday night pint because he wants to be in a position to be able to drive should I get 'The Call'. We've both been a bit naughty over Christmas and there have been a couple of occasions when neither of us would have been fit to travel but I had the strange feeling I wouldn't be called. Now I sense that I could be and quite soon. I'm probably wrong but we are taking no chances.

Today I'm struggling to find things to do. Peter is in work this afternoon so I'll be on my own for the first time in almost three weeks. I have been given some scented candles and loads of Lush products so I'm going to indulge in some bathroom time, now we have hot water again, and then watch TV while pigging out on the remaining chocolates, well I am trying to gain weight.

Tomorrow I'm back to work and it will be my first set of full hours. I'm not quite such how I will cope. I managed the individual days over Christmas quite well but four days straight might be a bit of a strain but I won't know until I try.

Dancing On Ice Watch

Well as I said I recorded this and managed to get through an hour and a half in just over forty five minutes.

Oh dear it was worse than I thought. They have nicked the 'half the competitors this week and half next week' format from Strictly. I hated it on Strictly so loathed it on this.

Out of the six couples I enjoyed Matt from Eastenders, though he needs to rein the little boy act in a bit, and Olympian Beth Tweddle, both danced really well. Keith Chegwin annoyed me, at fifty four he needs to grow up a bit but you have to give him points for determination. If I'd broken my shoulder I wouldn't set foot on an ice rink again.

I listened to the judges first critique and then zoomed through them as well though I was fascinated by Jason's hair. It that seriously his own hair? Who wants hair that looks like a wig?

In the end I didn't bother watching the results show as I just wasn't interested. Will I watch it again? Well yes I will watch next week just to see the other 'stars' but I won't be holding out any hope of the third week.

Next blog Saturday.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Flood 2

The trip to take Svet to the airport yesterday went off without a hitch, though both she and Andrew were rather tearful to be parted yet again. That is the trouble with long distance relationships as there is alway the long months apart in between the few weeks together. On the plus side it does keep the relationship fresh, a fact I tried to cheer Andrew up with when he arrived home.

To be honest he wasn't that bad, a bit subdued but already looking forward to May when he is going over for a few days. To take his mind off things we sat and watched Sherlock Holmes on DVD, weird but exceptionally good. I can't wait to get the latest one now, and it is not often I say that.

This morning I was woken from my slumbers by the husband dashing about in what appeared to be a complete panic. The cause was a burst pipe in the airing cupboard which was squirting scalding water everywhere. Up and dressed I shot downstairs to make a calming cup of tea and found the utility room floor soaking and a big bulge in the ceiling. While Peter gallantly tried to stem the flow upstairs I set about the big clear up. First of all I grabbed a bucket and placed it under the drip and then mopped up all the standing water. Within half an hour the floor was dry and the drip contained but what to do about the bulging ceiling? Then I had a bright idea, I rushed back upstairs and got one of my big syringes and a needle, then grabbing a large saucepan out of the kitchen I climbed the step ladder and gently pierced the center of the bulge with the needle. My original intention was to use the needle and syringe to draw out the water and squirt it into the saucepan but it soon became clear that would not work so I enlarged the hole slightly and placed the saucepan under the resulting drip. An hour on and the bulge has shrunk and the drip slowed so I'm hopeful that will be that. The ceiling will need redecorating at the very least, and possibly a bit of plaster work but when I last looked the bulge had gone and the edges were beginning to dry out nicely.

Meanwhile in the airing cupboard Peter had managed to contain the flow so it wasn't squirting everywhere and had managed to direct it into a plastic container. I then went though everything that had been in the cupboard to see what had escaped and what needed to be dried out. Remarkable only half a dozen items had got wet and then not by much. They are now in the tumble drier.

After putting me in charge of emptying the various containers, Peter went out to get some new pipe and other bits and pieces to do the repair. Once again I am thankful I have such a practical chap as a husband. He will manage to fix it for just a few pounds, can you imagine the cost of calling out an emergency plumber on a Sunday?

Now he's back my role has been reduced to making the tea and keeping an eye on the leaks downstairs, which suits me fine and has enabled me to sit down and write this blog.

Once we've solved this crisis we then have the task of packing Andrew up so he can return to university later this afternoon. We are going to have to go with him of course as all his clothing, now washed and ironed, also needs to go back along with supplies of food and all his technology. Of course he will be popping back for the odd weekend but the house is going to seem awfully quiet until he returns again at Easter, with more washing no doubt..

Dancing on Ice Watch

Now I may or may not be commenting on this. It very much depends on what happens during the launch programme tonight.

I've never been really hooked on this as I am with Strictly but I will watch it if someone I like is on it or if I have nothing else to do. I certainly will not be watching it live as advert breaks after every dance and the annoying Christine Bleakley are not what I want to waste my time with. As you can see it is on to a bit of a looser with me right from the start. I absolute hate watching anything with adverts so almost never watch anything, on those channels with adverts, live.

This afternoon I will be settling down in front of the TV to do some ironing. This is partially necessary as some of the items are Andrew's, and partially forced due to the leak, but at least it will mean it is all done and dusted for another week. I'm hoping there is a good film on, otherwise I'll watch one of my old favourites from our DVD stack. Then the boys will pack the car while I will do the 'mum' thing and pack a carrier bag with cakes, biscuits, crisps and fruit so he has something to eat tonight without having to cook for himself or go out and buy stuff. After that it is a quick dash down the motorway and a nice quiet evening with just the two of us. I might even treat myself to a Bailey's and I'm sure there are still a few mince pies floating about somewhere that really need to be eaten.

In the meantime the kitchen calls once more, a curry has been requested so Tikka Masala it is then.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

January Blues

Well after a truly hectic few days I'm having a day of complete rest. Well apart from making lunch that is and only because I want something edible.

Yesterday's meal with Svet's parents was a great success and we all got on really well. We had roasted red pepper soup, roast beef with all the trimmings including Yorkshire puddings, something they had never seen before and topped it off with sherry truffle creams topped with whipped cream and choc flakes. Yum - Yum it was delicious. So over the course of two weeks I've had turkey, lamb and beef roast dinners and have nibbled numerous chocolates, cheese and sausage rolls and what do I do? Yes I lose weight. Last week I was 7 stone 11 pounds, this week I'm 7 stone 9 pounds. How the hell did that happen? I now have a BMI 0f 18.8, two points off my targe, what a pain.

So the house is in a somber mood, I'm upset at losing weight again, the tree has come down so the place looks bare and empty and Svet goes home to Bulgaria this evening. To top it all Andrew goes back to university tomorrow so in the space of 24 hours I'll go from a lively busy house to spending time on my own in front of the TV waiting for Peter to come home. No wonder they call it the January blues.

On the plus side it means I can get some rest, which has been sorely missing over the last few weeks. It feels as though I've either been cooking, cleaning or washing up, yes I've had help but at the end of the day the success of mealtimes really come down to me and with all the help in the world it can be very stressful. Next year hopefully it will be different.

Celebrity Big Brother started this week and out of curiosity I watched the first hour of the first programme and then gave up. The number of advert breaks annoyed me beyond reason as they made the actually programme almost unwatchable as it was so disjointed. And as for the people I saw going in well how can most of them be classed a celebrities? One of the first in was a chap called Rylan who apparently is famous for crying on X factor (no I didn't watch that either) and losing. How in any way, shape or form does that make him a celebrity? Then the first female appeared in the shape of Paula Hamilton ex model and now more famous for her drink and drug abuse. Even as she walked down the ramp anyone with an iota of sense could see she was far from stable. In fact most of the time she looked bewildered as though she didn't know where she was. Should they really be putting people like that into such a situation? What are they going for this year? The first live suicide or the first live murder because Paula looked capable of either? After that I switched over, no CBB for me this year.

In the news much is being made of the first hand transplant to take place in Britain.

This is undoubtedly a brilliant development in the world of transplantation and so far it shows every sign of being successful. However there is one thing about the reports that really bothered me. They stress that he will at last be able to hold his grandson's hand and play with him, cut up food or do up buttons. OK the food and the buttons I can understand but this man had a perfectly functioning left hand, why couldn't he hold his grandson's hand with that?

Don't get me wrong, I am very pleased for the chap and am delighted that one week on he is able to move his fingers and has some feeling. What I don't like is the way the media has reported it, as usual they have to put a spin on what is a miracle and make it sound, well, a bit naff.

The Sun has gone one better and reported on people having transplants 'taking on' the personalities and tastes of the donors. These people have done strange things since their transplants such as joining a gym, drinking beer, and, goodness me, jogging. What a shocker! I do not believe this one little bit, what I think has happened is that the recipient has been ill so long people have forgotten what they were like before they became ill. And with all the drugs you take before and after transplant I can understand why food might taste differently too. Yes there was an example of one person committing suicide and by a strange coincidence that is how the donor died but a coincidence is all it is. Some people really cannot cope with the idea of having someone else's organs inside them, especially if the transplant was done in a hurry and the recipient had no time to get used to the idea.

Does all this put me off, well no of course not but if I suddenly start walking near cliff edges, tucking into key lime pie or cuddling tarantulas then you'll know something is up because I've been scare of heights and spiders and hated lime since birth.

Well better go and cook lunch, pasta today so quick and easy.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year Resolutions

Well I hope everyone had a really Happy New Year though judging from our newspapers most of our young people were practically unconscious well before midnight. I still don't understand how drinking yourself into oblivion equates to having a good time, may be I'm getting old.

To be honest I only just got to see the new year in myself as I was absolutely exhausted after work and several times I dozed off before the big moment. I was in bed the moment the fireworks stopped.

For the last couple of days I've been contemplating possible resolutions. I'm pretty good at keeping New Year resolutions but have hit the buffers a bit this year. I don't drink, smoke, take drugs (except for prescribed), I can't go to the gym to get fit and I don't need to lose weight so what am I going to do?

Well I think number one is trying to get to the weight target I've been set. I've actually made a pretty good start over Christmas, gaining a whopping seven pounds. I'm actually 7 stone 11 pounds now ( no idea on kilos) which just pushed me into the BMI range of 19 -20 at 19.2. That should keep Papworth happy as they wanted me over nineteen to increase my chances of a good outcome from surgery. Of course I have been eating a lot of things I don't usually eat and thankfully I've manage to keep everything down. However I am already craving fruit and salads and healthy stuff so I think I'm going to have to factor in the odd chocolate bar and toasted cheese sandwich in order to keep the weight on.

I've also decided to take up painting again. I've thought about for a while now and the only thing really holding me back is the lack of materials. All my oils and acrylics dried up years ago so next time I'm out and about I'm going to pick up some paints, brushes and a canvass or two and have a go. I think both these goals should be achievable so fingers crossed.

The third one is not to have PH at Christmas but of course that one is a little bit out of my hands but at least every night now when I do my drugs i say to myself, 'this might be the last time I have to this.' And to be honest it is a nice feeling knowing that one day I will be right. I am turning into a bit of a Del Boy though as I've caught myself saying thing like 'this time next year...' I suppose I deserve a bit of optimism and hope this year though so I'll keep saying it, even though it makes my family fall about.

As a lovely start to the new year I had a Warfarin clinic to attend. Naively I though that being during the holidays it would be quiet and I'd be in and out. I was very much mistaken and people were queuing along the corridor. The clinic itself was bedlam and the receptionist flustered and bad tempered. She almost snatched my appointment book out of my hand and barked at me to 'find a seat'. Fortunately just as I was scanning the room for an elusive gap someone was called and vacated a seat in the aisle right next to me. I slipped in and settled down for a long wait. After a few minutes the elderly lady opposite me tapped me on the knee and leaned forward.

"I hope you will give that seat up, there are a lot of elderly people in here today."

I'm not usually rude to people especially the elderly but I'm fed up with people assuming I'm well just because the way of I look so I leaned back towards her and said the following.

"Yes there are a lot of elderly people here today but there are also a lot of very sick people here and I'm one of them so I will not be giving up my seat, I really wish I could."

She didn't say a word but spent the next half hour glaring at me. I was heartily grateful when she finally got called until I realised what had replaced her.

He was a pleasant well dressed man whom I judged to be not much older than myself. He was cheerful and started to chat about the weather, Christmas and generalities. Then the conversation turned to why everyone was there and then we got a detailed account of his recent pacemaker operation WITH pictures. Now I'm not squeamish by any standard but I really could have done with out that, however I nodded politely and made appropriate sounds at images of his bruises as it began to dawn on me that I'd stumbled upon a hypochondriac who was delighted to find he was really ill. In quick succession I got descriptions of his angiogram, following a heart attack, his ablation, which didn't work, and various other tests that I've had by the dozen but were obviously major events to him.

Half an hour in and I decided to take my jumper off as it was getting really hot and as I did so my line popped out from under my tee shirt silencing him in his tracks.

"Oh my God I am so sorry, here am I rattling on and all the time you have cancer."
"No I don't have cancer"
"My mate had cancer and he had one of those, it's where they do the chemo isn't it."
"It is similar but this isn't for cancer."

I then 'educated' him about PH and by the time I'd finished with 'waiting for a heart/lung transplant' he was shaking his head. I think I might just have put things into perspective for him as he put his phone away, which had the pictures on it, and instead he asked how I coped with the Warfarin and did I find any particular foods effected it. We got on quite well after that and happily chatted away until I was called, a full hour and forty minutes after I arrived.

Back home the promised dinner that Andrew had offered to cook had not materialised so I whipped up a quick pasta and then sat enjoying a cuppa while I caught up on my emails and wrote this blog. This afternoon we are nipping out briefly to get some of the fruit I feel so desperate for, and take Andrew and Svet into Milton Keynes so they can do some shopping. Then it is back home, an early night and work tomorrow.

My cold is better but my cough, though less frequent, is still deep and chesty so I might pay a visit to my GP next week, if it is still there, to see what he can recommend as I'm well and truly fed up with it now.

Oh well no peace for the wicked. I'm beginning to wish the holiday season over so I can have a rest. Next blog Saturday.