Sunday, 28 April 2013

They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore

Another good night but I've woken up with an extremely stiff neck. Obviously I've been fighting with myself in my sleep again.

Yesterday afternoon was one of complete rest and relaxation. Realising there was not going to be a big enough gap in the rain to go out and take the photo's I'd planned, I gave myself over to watching a succession of old American war movies. Two were about submarines, one was called Run Silent, Run Deep and had Bert Lancaster and Clark Gable in it. I forget the other two except the one on a mine sweeper had Humphrey Bogart as the mad captain, oh I remember now it was called The Caine Mutiny, and very good it was too.

While I was relaxing Andrew was in the kitchen wrestling with some stubborn pastry. He'd brought a recipe back from Bulgaria which required layers of extremely thin, almost filo like, pastry. Try as he might he just couldn't get the layers thin enough and they kept ripping every time he got to a certain thickness. The waves of frustration coming out of the kitchen were palpable and I wasn't going to get my head bitten off by offering to help. I laid low until he charged into the living room saying he'd given up. So we didn't get our teatime treat and had toasted tea cakes instead.

How very dare you!

The cats are now in full shedding mode and scratching like demons. Just to make sure there wasn't any flea action going on I Frontlined both of them which really put me in the bad books ensuring dirty looks and a distinctly frosty atmosphere for a few hours. To help out, and try and minimise the amount of hair on the settee/bed/carpets, I've started brushing them and they love it. Hence the reason why I wasn't in the bad books for long. It seems the more I brush the more hair they produce and they leave clouds of it behind wherever they go. My lap currently looks like I'm wearing a furry apron.

I'm just making sure I cover as big an area as possible

Britain's Got Talent Watch

A better show last night I felt. There were some genuinely 'so bad they were good' moments and I spent a fair amount of time laughing. There was less of the judges, though the David and Simon comedy double act continued but not intrusively I'm glad to say.

Best act without a doubt was scary swordsman Aidan. This act consisted of a man, bearing a striking resemblance to Ming The Merciless, covering his face in candle waxed, don't ask, bandages, sticky tape and foil, no really, don't ask, and then slicing fruit and stabbing paper bags. The bazaar facial coverings were to ensure he couldn't see what he was doing while two audience members and Ant stood holding a paper bag, a plank and a pineapple. Ming, sorry Aidan, then used a dagger and a set of numb-chucks to dispose of the bag and the plank. The pineapple sitting on Ant's head was sliced in two with a samurai sword while Ant screamed like a girl. Both impressive and funny.

Worst act, well in my opinion, was the older gentleman with the kidney shaped guitar/harp/lyre arrangement. He was tuneless but gave it his all.

Well I'm off to make lunch and then, fingers crossed I'm off out with my camera. Next blog Wednesday.

 While writing this blog I have been alerted to the sudden and unexpected death of a fellow PH sufferer. This gentleman suffered sudden and catastrophic liver and kidney failure and has left the PH community in shock. Any death from PH brings me down but one that happens so suddenly really brings it home that all PHers are on borrowed time. Will be thinking of you today Grieg, all the best. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Tooth Will Out

The trip to the dentist turned out to be a rather perfunctory affair. I was in and out in less than five minutes and left feeling rather cheated if I'm honest.

My previous dentist, a charming but rather eccentric German call Rolf, yes really I didn't make that up, took up to twenty minutes to examine, clean and polish my mouth. The first thing he'd do when I sat in the chair was stick his fingers in my mouth and squeeze my tongue while announcing that, 'I am checking for the cancers.' I never quite worked out whether I found that reassuring or not. Yesterday's young lady barely touched me. She removed a bit of plaque and polished exactly three teeth before I was sent on my way. She did tell me off for brushing my gums to hard though. Examining my teeth at home they lacked the sparkle the cleans with Rolf managed

So this leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I hate the dentist, doesn't everyone, but I know that keeping my teeth in tip top condition is essential when waiting for a transplant. She didn't even test if my caps were loose, something Rolf did with such vigor I was convinced he was going to pull them out. Nor did she poke around my fillings so I've been left with the uneasy feeling that I haven't been thoroughly checked, at least not as I'm used to. The normal me would be rejoicing at having got away so quickly. The pre-transplant me is worried that things might have been missed. So do I complain? Do I book in for another check with someone else? Or do I leave it and hope she knows what she is doing and everything is OK? I'm going to have to think about that one.

After all the running about to appointments and this, that and the other I slept like a log last night and feel so much better for it. I'm sure this has been helped in some part by the ditching of the winter duvet and the tiny slither Peter allowed the window to be opened. The battle for the window will go on until it gets really hot when he will then allow me to open it a couple of inches more.

This morning it was Tesco time, I couldn't be bothered yesterday, and time to do battle with harassed parents and screaming kids. I really, really, really hate shopping on a Saturday. The car park is always packed and you can't get around without having to shout 'excuse me' every five minutes, and then you are mostly ignored. Today was no different but we made it in an out in under and hour, a triumph by our experience.

This afternoon I'd planned to go out with my camera and take some pictures, something I haven't done since last summer, but the weather is against me yet again. Coming out of Tesco's we got soaked as the rain came down in buckets and drove home shivering in damp clothing. Let's just say my enthusiasm has been somewhat dampened, may tomorrow will be better.

In the news a disaster has occurred.

Not reported in any of the English newspapers or TV reports but deeply distressing to anyone of Welsh heritage, news that the National Library of Wales had caught fire. Some may be thinking 'so what', well to put it in perspective it is the Welsh equivalent of the British Library going up in flames.

I remember well being dragged up there by my mother to view the old maps and things on display and not being the slightest bit interested. I was heavily into Roman and Egyptian history at the time and anything home grown seemed boring, after all the Welsh are not exactly famous for their temples, pyramids or mummies. I also remember school trips during history lessons to view some document or other and being expected to show great reverence. How foolish one is when young, if any of those maps, books or documents have been destroyed I will be bereft and kicking myself that I didn't drink all that history in when I had the chance. No prizes for guessing where I'll be visiting when I next make it down to Aberystwyth.

Link to the full report here

Well time for lunch and to stare gloomily out on the rain and wonder if we've already had our summer this year.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Well all I can say is I'm so glad that week is over.

Today I had the pleasure of the Warfarin clinic and for once it really was a pleasure. In and out in under ten minutes and a nice as pie nurse who fully understood how I felt about needles. Brilliant. The down side of such a quick visit is that I don't get to listen in on other peoples conversations. I did however get moaned at by an irate Scot who labelled the service 'a load of shite'. I'm not sure what set him off because I couldn't understand him.

It's been a bad week at work.

Not only did I get moaned at by loads of people who really should learn to sort out their own petty squabbles but I also had to put up with crippling heat too.

Yes, on the hottest two days of the year, so far, the heating was going full blast so we all sat there red faced and sweating. This of course is nothing new. When I taught the schools would turn the heating on on the 1st October and turn it off on the 1st April regardless of the weather conditions. Many a time I've been sat in a boiling classroom in September with every window open and fans going like the clappers while the heating was going full blast. Similarly I've spent many an April day wrapped up in jumpers, scarfs and gloves in a classroom that resembled an ice box. It seems workplace heating systems operate on very cut and dried assumptions, i.e. it is always cold in September and lovely and warm in April when any fool could tell them that it is usually the opposite.

I have no doubt that when I go in on Monday the air conditioning will have been turned on and we'll all be frozen solid. You just can't win.

I have been rather down this week and I think I've worked out why.

Firstly it is my four month anniversary of being on the list and, although I know I'm going to have along wait, each month that passes means you lose heart a little. So I think I'm likely to be a bit down around this time every month, still it's better than PMT.

Secondly it has been a week of moaners. Everyone has moaned to me about practically everything. Most of it could be sorted out if only people would just talk to each other. And I mean talk, not scream like wailing banshees from opposite sides of the road, something that appear to pass for conversation these days. Most days you can go home feeling that at least you've helped someone but this week I've just wondered at the futility of it all.

However the week is over, I'm feeling perkier and I'm hopeful next week will be an improvement.

Well time for the dentist. I probably won't be feeling quite so perky in an hours time.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Down In The Dumps

I'm having a bit of a bad week.

I'm not sure what is wrong but I feel like I just don't want to do the whole pump thing anymore. It is four months on the list now but I know it isn't that, I've always been prepared for a long wait. It's not really work either, though there is talk of our shift patterns being changed again which is unsettling. The week isn't going to get any better either with both the warfarin clinic and the dentist on Friday.

Things haven't been helped by Health Care At Home. Yes they are at it again.

They sent me through the post a schedule of when they would phone me and when they would deliver to cover the six months from Jan - June. The schedule said they would be ringing last Friday so one of us stayed in all day. They didn't call. They also didn't call on Monday, Tuesday or this morning so Peter, who has been waiting in bless him, finally snapped and rang to speak to a manager. She patently did not care about the stress and inconvenience being cause and had the cheek to say the schedule was only a 'rough idea' of when call would be made. She seemed extremely surprised that a disabled person would be working and not just sitting around at home all day waiting for a phone call. She then asked for my mobile or work number so she could call me at work. Well I don't want to be sitting at my desk and reading off how many syringes etc I need in front of all my workmates. Thankfully Peter realised this and refused to pass the number on. In the end he extracted a promise that they would stick to their schedule, we will wait and see.

Having been told all this when I got home I immediately emailed Carl at the Brompton to see if he can also have a word and sort it out. I used to be supplied by Polaris and they were brilliant but HCAH have been nothing but a nightmare from the word go. Cross!

On the way home, just to make my week so far complete, I hit a pheasant.

No it is not my old foe of before. I haven't seen him since I changed the car so either he's been got by someone else or, and yes I am crediting a very stupid bird with too much intelligence, he doesn't recognise my new car.

Today it was two females that decided to jump into the road as I was barrelling along at sixty. I jammed on the brakes and swerved missing one but the second I got square on. It sailed past the windscreen hit the roof and slid down the rear window. I was distraught as I hate killing anything. Back home I examined the front of my car to find nothing, not even a feather. Alfa 1 Pheasant 0. And I know I'm going to feel really bad about it for days and days.

Right time for a cuppa and some chocolate, I feel I deserve it today. Next blog Friday.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mouse Trap

We got a lot of thing done yesterday that I didn't expect.

Andrew mowed the lawn and Peter went through the spare room tidying up while I got busy in the kitchen so we can be forgiven for relaxing in front of a film during the evening. However Smirnoff had other ideas.

Laurence cutting the lawn last summer

It was ten thirty and we were just thinking of going up to bed when the cat flap went a little more vigorously than normal. Then Smirnoff appeared in the doorway with something dangling from his mouth. We shot into action in a well rehearsed routine. The object was to release said mouse and return it to the great outdoors, preferably unscathed. Andrew jumped on Smirnoff and held on to him. Peter unlocked the back door and I rushed into the kitchen for my rubber gloves. We have discovered that cats, well our cats, loath the smell of rubber washing up gloves. I've found through trial and error that if I put a gloved finger over his nose he automatically opens his mouth and drops the mouse which I catch in the other hand. The whole procedure takes only two or three minutes and the mouse was returned, damp but unharmed, into a bush while Smirnoff was made a fuss of to minimise the disappointment of not disposing of his catch in the bedroom.

At the age of fifteen I'm surprised he's still got it in him to be out catching things. Though it has to be said it was a very small mouse so it might have been a baby and he just got lucky. Still it is further proof that spring is finally here and we can look forward to many months of removing live animals from Smirnoff's mouth or finding dead ones rotting under the settee. Tarmac gave up mousing years ago. He was never very good at it and is far too lazy to make so much effort just to have success snatched from him, literally.

Smirnoff soaking up the sun on the patio

Laurence arrived just after seven and after a quick hello and a hug went straight out again to meet with his mates. I've no idea when he returned because it was way after I was in the land of nod. He is still asleep at the moment and I'll leave him there until closer to twelve. Yes I am very kind to my babies.

Andrew has started packing ready to return to uni this afternoon. It is going to be really strange to go from a full house to an almost empty one in one day but such is life I suppose. I suspect it won't be long before he's back.

I feel better today as my legs and back have now fully recovered from my little jaunt around Milton Keynes. I'm still coughing, getting really fed up now, but hopefully it has improved enough so my supervisor won't think I'm expiring at my desk tomorrow.

So today is going to be a busy one. I've got to iron my work stuff for tomorrow, cook lunch, iron Andrew's stuff for uni, drive to Hatfield and back and do some laundry. I'm going to be shattered but at least that will ensure a good night's sleep.

Britain's Got Talent Watch

I can't help thinking that this year's series is more about the judges than the acts. OK I appreciate that the Simon and David double act is quite funny but do we have so little talent that they have to keep filling in the gaps?

It was a pretty mediocre show, very little to stun or amaze and even less of the funny awful, mostly they were just awful. Stand out act for me were the two brothers, no, not just because they were Welsh, but because they had such beautiful voices. When they said they were going to sing I was braced for some awful rap stuff but when that lovely operatic voice burst into life I was entranced, and his brother's voice was even better.

It is difficult to decide on the worse act, in fact if truth be told, I can't even remember most of them. I think I'd have to say that the first two acts who came on to give it ago, although they hadn't quite decided what they were actually going to do must be the ones to choose. I can't quite understand why you would queue for hours and put yourself through all the humiliation without at least having something rehearsed. At least then, even if you crashed and burned, at least you could say you did your best. Some people really are crazy.

Well lots to do, next blog Wednesday.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Walking Straight Into Trouble

I did something stupid yesterday, what's new.

Andrew wanted to go to Waterstones yesterday afternoon and while he went off to do his thing Peter and I decided to take a look around John Lewis. Now I know that JL is always busy and the new layout makes it very difficult to drive around on my scooter so decided that as it was a short walk I'd attempt it without my trike but using my oxygen instead.

It is ages since I've walked around a shop, apart from my local tiny Tesco, and I loved the feeling of independence I got from being on my own two feet, not to mention being able to see and reach everything. I lingered at the perfume counters and looked at all the clothing I can no longer wear because of this damned pump. I swear that once I've got rid of it I'm going to buy nothing but dresses. Anyway I digress. Feeling absolutely fine, and surprising myself in the process I decided to try going a little further afield and headed to the market where there is a great little second hand book stall. Again I didn't do to badly. I stopped for a rest on a bench along the way but I got there only to find it was shut. The way back was where the problems started. I found I was going slower and slower. My feet felt like lead and my calf muscles burned, this, I knew, was not a good sign. Making it back to the car I was in absolute agony. The pain had now spread to my thighs and lower back and even sitting hurt. When I did eventually get into the passenger seat my legs began to cramp. It was awful.

The trip to Costco saw me back in a wheelchair, I was in too much pain and too tired to use the trike, feeling very sorry for myself as well as anger at my stupidity.

Back home the boys unpacked while I lay on the settee drinking a nice cuppa and downing paracetamol as fast as I could get them out of the packet. I was shocked. Some people have said that these symptoms are due to the lack of oxygen in the muscle but I had my oxygen on. Harefield and Papworth have both said that the more active you can be before transplant the quicker you will get fit again afterwards. Now I can see why, my muscles were definitely protesting at being called into service and I think it was more to do with lack of use than lack of oxygen. So despite feeling sore and tired I'm will be trying that again. If I keep at it maybe it will improve. One thing is for sure, when I have had the transplant I don't want to be stuck in a chair because my legs won't work. I'm beginning to realise having the transplant will only be the start of a very long battle back to fitness. It is not going to be the instant cure I was hoping for, not by a long way.

The weather today is glorious and I've actually hung some washing out to dry. Andrew is going to cut the grass later and a quick walk around the garden has shown that, despite still looking bare from a distance, buds are springing up in all the trees and bushes. The decking is in a poor state. It needs a good brush and a hose down, as the pigeons have been having a field day. I haven't taken the covers off the furniture yet so have no idea how it survived such a long cold winter. Hopefully in a couple of weeks time the decking and the weather will both be nice enough to sit out and read.

The decking mid build

This morning I was cheered up by a visit from my best friend Diana. We had to cancel our last get together due to bad weather and illness so it was nice to catch up again. When the weather is nicer I'm going to invite her and her family over for lunch and an afternoon sitting in the sun sipping Pimms and enjoying each others company. As it is we have made another date to meet up in May. No doubt it will be pouring.

My friend Stacie successfully got her line put in and is now home again. I hope she finds Flolan as good for her as it has been for me. Stacie has written a blog about her time in hospital and her feelings about having the pump fitted. You'll find the link on the right hand side bar.

Almost done, waiting for furniture and steps.

In other news Rolf Harris has been arrested and bailed as part of the Jimmy Savile investigation.

Rolf Harris? Are they serious? Of all the people caught up in it so far Rolf is the one I can't even imagine doing anything untoward. Some of the others have always appeared to me as being a bit creepy but not old Rolf. I really hope they have made a big mistake this time, I really do.

Laurence is arriving later to spend the night and have lunch with us tomorrow. The spare room has been tidied ready for him and the bed made up. I am really looking forward to having both my boys under my roof again, even if it is just for one night.

Tomorrow Andrew returns to uni for his last term this year. I cannot believe he's almost through his first year already. Where did all the time go?

Talking of which I'd better go and make the cake I've promised everyone. A rich chocolate this time, yum, yum.

Friday, 19 April 2013

How Do Hedgehogs Make Love?

Well it has been a bit full on these last couple of days.

Because I was unable to do any shopping last week due to illness, this week's effort has been a mammoth session, but it is done now so we can eat for the next ten days or so.

As the weather has perked up it is all hands on deck getting my Alfa 156 ready for sale. To be honest it isn't in too bad a shape over all and didn't need that much done. We've replaced the brake discs as they were getting a bit worn and replaced part of the exhaust system that had developed a hole. We've given it an oil change and replaced the filters. All it really needs now is a good clean up and a polish and with a bit of luck we can put it up for sale end of next week. Although I will be sad to see it go we really need the space so the sooner the better.

It is day three on yet another course of antibiotics and I'm feeling better. I still have a really bad cough, bad enough to worry my colleagues anyway, but I feel much better in myself. I'm hoping that when this clears up it will be permanently and won't be coming back.

With the warm weather my garden has exploded with wildlife of all shapes and sizes. The squirrels have been particularly active as they rush around looking for things to feed their young. I've taken pity on them as they can't seem to remember where they've buried anything, and have been putting a few nuts out for them every day.
Apple blossom on my street

I was on my own on Wednesday night. Peter and Andrew were out and so I settled down to watch MasterChef with a ginger beer and packet of crisps.

My neighbours are currently on holiday and we have been asked to keep an eye on things. So you can imagine my horror when I noticed the security light had come on in their back garden. Now I know that my cats can set it off but they were both in so I had no choice but to investigate. I opened the back door, then decided I needed to be armed so grabbed the nearest thing, yes it was the kitchen so it was the rolling pin, and crept outside. I couldn't see anything but there is a high fence between us so I walked a bit closer and then froze. From the other side of the fence came a grunting, snuffling sound. My immediate though was that there was a dog loose, or failing that a fox. Holding my rolling pin in a vice like grip I peeped over the fence sure that I was ready for anything. I was wrong. There in the middle of the lawn, were two hedgehogs doing what comes naturally. I burst out laughing and went back indoors. So the answer to my question is ... noisily.

In the news there has been so much going on it is difficult to know where to start.

Margaret Thatcher's funeral was a magnificent display of what Britain does best, the ceremonial occasion. The pomp and pageantry was breath taking but what was more impressive was the level of respect shown by ordinary people who lined the streets to see her off. Yes there were a few who tried to cause trouble but nothing like the disruption that had been promised, for once it was a triumph for the silent majority of the noisy minority.

America has suffered badly this week. First with the boming of the Boston marathon and then yesterday we woke up to hear about a massive explosion in Texas. Thankfully the second was not a terrorist attack but what is looking like an accident. Boston however was meant and it is looking like home grown crackpots rather than any international terrorist group. At the time of writing one suspect has been shot and another is on the run. No one knows for sure yet if they are the right people or if they acted alone.

Needless to say the London marathon, which takes place on Sunday, is now a source of great anxiety. Although I am sure things will go off without a hitch you can never be 100% sure. I hope that this event will pass peacefully as I have several colleagues and friends running this year.

Well time to go, Andrew wants to go to Waterstones this afternoon and I've got to pick up my new contact lenses.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A Quickie

I'm back on the antibiotics.

Having coughed my way through yesterday I alarmed some of my colleagues with my hacking today and I've started to produce gunk again. Sometimes I wonder when it is all going to end, though on the plus side I feel fine in myself. I don't like taking pills like this but I feel I have no choice and I have also booked myself in with my GP for Friday. One way or another this bug is on it's way out.

I thought I was in luck last night when I shot upright having heard the phone ring. However I appear to have dreamed it and lay back down to try and go back to sleep. I have to say that after all the longing and hoping I was shocked when I realised my overwhelming reaction was fear, well sheer terror to be precise. You'd have thought I'd be ecstatic wouldn't you, but not me, I was terrified. Though having reflected on it this might have been the reaction to a bad dream I can't remember. Who knows, only when I get the real call will I know the answer to that one.

The journey to and from work is lovely this week. There have been occasions when I've actually had my window wound down or the aircon on (the window was used until I figured out how to activate the air con, dumbo that I am). The roads are lined with Daffodils and at last the pale pink cherry blossom is arriving. Nothing much happening in my garden though apart from the grass being a bit longer.

Well things to do, like try and get tomato soup off my white shirt, again. Next full blog on Friday

Monday, 15 April 2013

Great British Workmen

Andrew as a shepherd aged six
For months now we've been threatened with water meters. Every household is going to have one though it is up to the individual whether to go with it or stick to the old system, for now anyway. Today it seems is the day as three trucks loaded with all sorts of things pulled up outside and about fifteen workmen emerged and started hauling down barriers and equipment. I quickly filled the water filters and the kettle and a saucepan, just in case they cut the water off, so I could cook lunch and have tea and then watched in anticipation. Soon the drills were busy, well one drill to be precise and one man with the others standing around in a circle watching him. Hole dug and barriers erected they then loaded up all three trucks and left.

A whole hour has passed and there is no sign of them apart from four red and white barriers and a massive hole in the pavement. Will they be back I wonder, possible next week I suspect.

So it is my last day signed off sick and I must say I'm chomping at the bit to get back to work and normality. Having given up on his watch dog impression Peter has been more than happy to let me back in the kitchen though more robust household chores are still a no go area. I did empty the bins while he was out yesterday though and haven't been told off. My nose is still a bit blocked and I indulge in a sneezing session every now and then but my cough has almost gone and in myself I feel really well. I feel a bit of a fraud being home today but you can't argue with my GP, well not if you know what's good for you. I'm going to make it a really lazy day and just rest and read, just like every other day for the past week then.

Laurence aged about ten

Andrew is back tomorrow and I'm getting quite excited about it. Peter isn't quite as excited but then he is the one who has to be at Luton Airport to pick him up at five thirty tomorrow morning.

Another exciting development is that Laurence is sleeping over on Saturday.

His mate Ben is going to America for a year to work as an instructor/teacher at one of those children's camps they have over there. He has asked Laurence to store some of his stuff while he is gone and so they are making a bit of a party of it and going out for a meal and a few drinks. So I'll have my two boys at home this weekend, very excited. It'll be just like having my little babies back again. Like all mum's I sometimes long for the days when they were little and I knew exactly what they were doing at all time. Then I think of what hard work it was and realise maybe it is for the best that they are not.

Why can't they stay like this?

The weekend has been one of practicing it seems.

The military has been practising for Margaret Thatcher's funeral, the papers seem to be full of the order of service. In fact there is so much detail being shared there's hardly any point in watching the thing. And the public have been practicing too by having a couple of mini riots. OK, technically they were to do with football but doesn't anyone else think it strange that after months of trouble free games we have two riots now? I will not be watching, I will be in work but I suspect we are all going to hear about it one way or another. At least the papers will have another excuse to fill their pages with 'analysis'. So bored of it all now.

The Grand Prix was exciting and I was very pleased to see Vettel knocked off his perch. I felt so sorry for Webber though he has absolutely no luck at all.

So another boring day stretches before me but hopefully it will be the last for a very long time. OK, I didn't manage to make it to four months without a sick day but I'm still doing very well for me. Let's hope the next time I'm off sick is because I'm recovering from transplant. Well a girl can dream.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

That's Entertainment

Another disturbed night, what is wrong with me? First I was too hot then too cold, hideous. However, despite feeling tired, I'm better again today. My cough has improved and my nose has stopped running at long last, which is just as well as it is so red it looks like it has been sandblasted. They lied about those balsam tissues, just to let you know. So now my nose has a layer of sudocream on it in the hope the skin will heal before I go back to work on Tuesday.

I though I was back tomorrow but looking at the copy of the sick note it says 8th - 15th inclusive, bummer but you have to do what the doctor says. And it is only one day so I'm not that bothered. The extra day can only mean feeling even better when I do go in, provided I can sleep that is.

The sun is shining brightly this morning and temperatures are already up to thirteen degrees. I'm actually debating whether to trust the weather and hang my sheets out instead of putting them through the tumbler. I'm pretty sure I'm safe from barbeque's but there might be a lot of bonfires as people start sorting out their gardens. Decisions, decisions.

With appetite restored I am cooking a beef curry for lunch. Since yesterday morning I've been eating constantly and I haven't really cared what I've been cramming into my mouth. I've even eaten a pot noodle, something I've never contemplate normally though Peter keeps a few in as a quick snack for those days he arrives home very late. Unable to go shopping this weekend, I wasn't feeling up to it and didn't want to risk catching something else, I'm running short on fruit and ginger beer, so the only snacks left are the unhealthy crisps etc. If I feel up to it I might make a banana and walnut loaf this afternoon so I can have a treat without having to consume large quantities of salt and sugar.

The papers are still crammed full of Margaret Thatcher's death and very little else. Honestly how many things can be written about one woman? It is almost as bad as when Princess Diana died.

Britain's Got Talent Watch

My Saturday evenings are complete again. BGT is back and as crazy as ever. I nearly missed it too. I was channel hopping trying to find something that wasn't The Voice when I saw the banner come up on ITV. So I settled down with a big grin on my face and anticipation and excitement riding high. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed.

Simon has got wider, Amanda darker, Alisha has had a touch of the light sockets (how wide can you get that hair) and David is, well, just the same. Wonderful. What makes the show of course is the presenting skills of Ant and Dec, how they get away with some of the things they say I will never know.

So what of the acts? Well the stand out looney for me this week was the bloke who dressed as a vicar and danced with broomstick dressed up as a nun whilst singing Edelweiss.  Why would you do that? What went on in his brain that would make him think this was a good idea? Amazingly he was put through as Simon was off sick and the three remaining judges wanted to annoy him.

Another act, who had not thought of what they were actually competing for, was a rather tubby woman who finished her act by jiggling her rather ample naked bottom at the judges. Hysterical, yes, fit for the Royal Variety, no. We also had the ubiquitous cute child, complete with pink dress and enormous shoes, no I don't know why either. Yes she had a good voice but wasn't for me.

The standout act this week were the shadow dancers (who were not from Britain). Their act was stunning and very moving. If you didn't see it well it was basically an advanced shadow puppet show. The difference was they used their whole bodies to create images of Stonehenge, Tower Bridge and camels while telling a rather sad story. Brilliant and unique they will definitely be in the finals. They may even win.

I can't wait for next week, it can only get better.

I also saw a trailer for this year's Apprentice, which is starting in a couple of weeks. I can't wait for that either.

Yes I know I watch a lot of crap these days but at the moment it is one of the few pleasures I have left. Once I've had my transplant my evenings will be full of theaters, concerts and gym visits, so it is a fleeting obsession born out of necessity, or so I keep telling myself.

Right both curry and Grand Prix await.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Lady In Waiting

Another restless night and I feel drained. Although tired I just couldn't switch off my brain and went over the visit time after time after time. I also made lists of things I need to do, this afternoon I'm re-packing my transplant bag for instance. I don't know why, everything that is in there will probably go back in but it is something I feel I just have to do.

I'm still pretty bunged up this morning but my cough has improved and to my surprise I felt hungry so polished off a couple of slices of toast, an apple and a banana for breakfast. This might be something to do with my jealousy over Peter's burger yesterday but is more likely to be because my sense of smell has returned.

I realise that I've fallen into a sort of complacency. Four months on, give or take a few days, and no call so rather than risk disappointment I gone too far the other way and have started to convince myself I'm still going to be here next year, still waiting. And so I have let things slide and not been 'ready'. You have all read how I jumped every time the phone rang and how I've sometimes cried when it was only a wrong number, or sworn at a nuisance caller. Well I decided that approach was far too exhausting to sustain and so began to relax. It has help my nerves and blood pressure no end but it also means if the call came today I'd be rushing around trying to find this or that and stressed because my phone needs charging. A balance is called for.

Cherry blossom at last

So every evening I will plug my phone into the charger, whether I think it needs it or not. My bag is going to be repacked and I'm making a list to sit just inside to tell me exactly what I have in the bag, as I keep forgetting, and what I need to add. I'm making up a list of my current meds and allergies which I can just hand to someone, saves trying to think in the early hours and stops any mistakes or omissions. I am revising my list of people to call and Peter will keep this on his phone, letting people know will keep him busy while I'm in surgery and will hopefully stop him worrying too much.

So what will happen to this blog while I'm out of it?

Well again, if I have time, I will post a notification on here stating when I got called in and then the blog will remain silent until I am able to start updating it myself. I am optimistically hoping that I'll be back within a week though I suspect two weeks or longer will be more realistic. We will see.

So I think that covers everything, at least until I can think of something else.

The flower bed by the village hall last year

The sun is shining and it feels at lot warmer today. We are expecting temperatures of over 20C tomorrow so I'm hopeful of being able to at least sit on the patio and read. However to my utter delight suddenly nature has burst into life. My Forsythia is so bright that it almost hurts to look at it and the cherry blossom is bursting out all over the place. Passing through the village square on the way home yesterday I noticed that they were planting up the flower beds. Our village has some lovely flower displays, I can't wait to see what they look like this year. Oh please let this summer be a really good one for a change.

In the news we still haven't been nuked by North Korea, though he keeps warning at it 'could be today'. Yes it could be but it probably won't be.

Margaret Thatcher's death is still causing uproar but I'm finding it all a bit boring and irritating now. The funeral is next Wednesday and it promises to be a rather lively affair, at least if some of the reports I've seen are anything to go by. I suspect there will be a riot somewhere, and I also suspect several people will get arrested, however with the Queen attending security will be tight and I doubt the funeral itself will be anything but the solemn and dignified occasion every funeral should be.

A display on the Barton Road

The Chinese Grand Prix takes place tomorrow but I for one will not be rising at six to watch it live. I will still be in the land of nod, I hope. I will record it and watch it tomorrow afternoon. The last race was quite exciting and I'm rather hoping for a repeat of that excitement, though I have to say I've gone right off Vettel.

Which reminds me. I've got qualifying to watch.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Visit To Papworth

I woke up feeling a lot better this morning. I'm still stuffy nosed and I have a smokers cough but generally I was quite perky.

I hadn't had a good night, but then I never do before an important meeting so that was no surprise. I showered and dressed but did not have any breakfast, apart from a couple of cups of tea, as my anxiety was making me feel a little nauseous. Once on the road I enjoyed just being out of the house and this eased my anxiety a little bit. We arrived in plenty of time and found a parking space with no problem at all.

Once at the clinic my anxiety levels hit the roof when I was told I wasn't due today. I thrust my letter at the receptionist, which clearly stated April 12th at 10am, and after a bit of a dig around she found my name was in the appointment diary but had not been transfered to the list. The mistake was theirs, not mine. With this sorted we went and sat in the waiting room until I was called for blood tests and then another wait began, this time to see the consultant.

As is usual I passed the time by 'people watching' my fellow patients and one man made my blood boil.

He had had his transplant, the way he was talking within the last few months, but looked really robust and healthy. None of this caused me any worries until a nurse came out and asked whether he had his book. The book is a record that each patient is expected to keep at least in the early days after transplant. The book holds a record of all your meds and when you are supposed to take them and in what dosage. As these change a lot in the early days a written record is deemed the best way of remembering things. The book is also a record of your progress. In it you record your blood, pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate, temperature etc, etc every day so if any problems occur they can be pin pointed and dealt with early. For instance if you temperature rises it might indicate the start of an infection.

Anyway back to this bloke. He was so rude to the nurse and told her that he didn't have his book as 'I can't be bothered with all that crap, it's a waste of time.' To say I could have strangled him would be an understatement. I wanted to rip his heart out of his ungrateful body and give it to someone more deserving.. The nurse however, hardly batted an eyelid and took him through to see the consultant. When he reappeared he looked rather sheepish but still retained his swagger. Sometimes I think transplants are wasted on certain people, and he would be top of my list.

The it was my turn and I was lead in to see a youngish doctor who was dressed in a rather Victorian manner, complete with fob watch chained to his waistcoat. I found myself feeling distinctly under-dressed for the occasion but he was very nice and quickly put me at ease. We went through a few things such as have my meds changed? No. Has my condition changed? No. About five minutes later and after a quick examination he announced I was doing very well and would make another appointment in three months time. Then he put his pen down and lent towards me and said he sincerely hoped he would be seeing me before then. I responded by saying I'd rather hoped I would have seen him before now. He smiled and said 'well it could be tonight you know'.
'Yes but it could also be sometime next year.'
'Oh I don't think you'll be waiting that long, I have a feeling you'll be back here quicker than you think.'

Now what the hell did he mean by that?  Did he know something I didn't and was dropping a big hint? In the end I decided he was just trying to bolster my hope up a bit. Anyway my next appointment is on the 19th July.

Peter decided that as I hadn't eaten today and had, had very little to eat all week that I deserved a treat and took me off for a pub lunch. We went to an ancient pub in St Neots called The White Horse. Peter ordered a burger and it was enormous, I settled for Carrot and Coriander soup with a large chunk of crusty bread. I did nick a few of his chips though, and ate the small pot of coleslaw that came with Peter's meal.

The drive home was awful as the rain hammered down and the roads were really busy. The first thing I did was make a cuppa as the soup must have been really salty and I was dying for a drink. I then changed into my baggies and sat down with the newspaper to rest for awhile, I was quite surprised at how tired I actually was.

I was also feeling a bit disappointed as I'd taken my camera along with the intention of taking a few snaps for this blog. However I decided getting soaked to the skin when I'm just recovering from a cold probably wasn't the best idea in the world and so the photo's will have to wait until next time.

I have finally heard from Andrew, albeit indirectly and he appears to be safe and well and having a wonderful time. He's due back on Tuesday and I must say I'm looking forward to seeing him.

Well It has been a stressful day one way or another so it is time to grab a ginger beer from the fridge and sit down and watch some daytime TV. You never know, this time tomorrow I could be on my back in hospital, hooked up to all sorts of machinery with a new set of lungs so I'd better make the best of it.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Don't Mess With This Miss

I have come to the startling conclusion that I must be a man in a woman's body.

Let's examine the evidence.

I prefer comfort over style, am happy to be seen without make up, I hate any kind of shopping, especially for shoes. I loath going to the hairdressers. I only have one handbag and my make up consists of a little face powder, mascara and a neutral lip gloss, just three items. On the other side of the coin I love bubble baths, perfume, painting my nails and having Indian head massages. However what makes me think I might actually be a man is my ability to drive, or to be precise parallel park.

I had to go back to the GP today for a check up and to pick up my month's supply of tables. As Peter is at work and I haven't had a funny turn in the last twenty four to thirty six hours I drove myself there. The actual car park with full but there was a space between a land rover and a van on the road out side. I parked up making sure I'd given the land rover plenty of space to get out. The van had clear road behind it, albeit with yellow lines, but the Land Rover was hemmed in by a low wall.

I went in, saw the doctor, who was pleased with my progress but warned me to come back on Monday if I wasn't totally better, and collected my drugs on the way out. When I got outside there was a woman leaning against the Land Rover glaring at my little Mito. "Is that yours?', she demanded rather aggressively. I nodded and then she went on a tirade of how I'd blocked her in and how inconsiderate I was etc, etc. I checked the space and I couldn't work out what she was talking about. You'd get me length ways into the space I'd left her. There was almost enough room for another Mito for heavens sake. Not exactly in the mood to pacify her I retorted with the offer to move her car for her if her driving was so bad she couldn't risk getting out of the enormous space I'd left her by herself. By the time I'd pulled out and was on my way down the road she was still trying to get her juggernaut started.

There are two morals to this story, don't buy a big car if you are incapable of driving it and don't pick on me when I'm not well.

My cold is improving, I haven't felt dizzy or sick since late Monday, for which I am very grateful and my hearing is returning for which the whole street is grateful. Even the crackling and popping has diminished. My appetite, unfortunately, is practically none existent again and I'm living on soup, tea and Complan, though I did branch out and have a cheese omelet for lunch yesterday. I finally got on the scales and to my dismay I have lost weight again. I'm around seven stone eight now but on the plus side I am still heavier than I was last time I went to Papworth.

It was a quite day as far as phone calls went.

From Tuesday when it was almost none stop, hence my little joke yesterday, I had just one call and that was a wrong number. I have to admit I was a little disappointed as I'd dug out my rape alarm to use as a deterrent. I was fed up, armed and ready but unfortunately unable to deploy. Maybe it was just as well as a test showed the battery had died and I don't have another of the right size.

Talking of deployment, D-day passed without anything happening , just as we all knew it would. This morning we are told that Dough Boy has missiles upright and ready to launch. Well I've been told that one before pal, and nothing came of those encounters either.

So what to do today as another afternoon of sheer boredom stretches before me. I have promised Peter I will behave but it is getting so hard. However I've made a promise and it is one I intend to keep so it is back on the settee, book by my side and remote in hand. At least tomorrow I get to go out, even if it is only to the hospital and back. Funny what you look forward to when you are desperate.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Nuisance Callers

My ears are clearing at last, though it still sounds like everyone has a bad case of the Norman Colliers about them. For those that don't know Norman was a comedian who's act included a microphone routine. The microphone had a bad connection and you missed ever other word or part of every other word. It was hilarious though having it happening for real isn't quite so funny. What is worse is the sound effects I'm getting, it is difficult to sleep when a firework display is going on in your head. However I've started sneezing too and with each good sneezing session the pressure in my sinuses lifts a little bit. So things are on the up.

One of the problems of being at home is the telephone. I lost count of how many sales calls I got yesterday. One very persistent caller was trying to sell me one of these over fifties funeral plans. He called so often I began to think he knew something I didn't. The trouble is I can no longer ignore anonymous calls. Papworth have said that they always withhold their number, and although I'm unlikely to get  'The Call' in the middle of a working day, I can't run the risk of not picking up. The caller ID does show international calls though so at least I can ignore those.

I was so bored and so fed up with the constant phone calls I hit upon this, please feel free to use.

Hello and welcome. In order to process your phone call more efficiently please chose from one of the following options.
Press 1 if your name is Nigel, live in India and want to talk to me about a problem I'm having with my non existent computer.
Press 2 if you want me to claim for an accident I haven't had.
Press 3 if you think my bank owes me money and would like a hefty chunk of any payout.
Press 4 if you think I am over 50 and in serious need of a funeral plan.
Press 5 if you want to replace my lovely real oak door with cheap plastic.
Press 6 if you think my fuel bills are too big, even though you are the company I already buy my gas and electricity from.
Press 7 if you can offer me a better phone tariff (please listen to the end of option 6).
Press 8 if you really are not trying to sell me anything and are just conducting a survey (yeah, right).
If you are actually someone I know and would want to talk too please hold while we connect you to the home owner but be prepared to be sworn at by the operator if you are any of the above. You have been warned.

I am on my own again today but Peter doesn't seem quite so worried. He says I'm looking and sounding better so is quite happy to let me off the settee to make my own tea, get a biscuit/fruit/packet of crisps etc. I am still banned from washing up, dusting, ironing or sorting the laundry though but to be fair that is no great hardship.

I've read about three books since Monday and watched endless episodes of Red Dwarf, Only Fools and Horses and Star Trek but I'm getting fidgety, a good sign I suppose. To stem the boredom a bit I've taken up making jewelry again. If you remember I started this little hobby when I was stuck at home for weeks before and after having my line fitted. I enjoyed it at the time but two bracelets in and I put it away, I just wasn't in the mood.

So I'm prowling the house looking for things to do. I hate this in between stage when you feel better than you actually are. This is the stage of post transplant recovery I'm really not looking forward too. I'll be there thinking I can climb Everest and they'll be saying 'rest'. In my mind's eye I'm going from operating table to marching around the countryside with no gradual progression at all. I can see the first few months being rather fraught.

I have heard nothing from Andrew since he landed in Bulgaria but I'm assuming this is a good sign and he is having far to good a time to spend any posting on face book.

The papers are full of reports of 'parties' and riots celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death, though frankly from the pictures they look like Rent-A-Crowd, who will riot over anything at a drop of a hat. And they all look far to young to have even been born when she was PM. It seems that brainwashing is alive and well in Great Britain after all.

In other news today is the day North Korea has been warning us about for weeks. Dough Boy must be right royally fed up that his posturing was eclipsed this week by the death of a real leader so he's up'd the rhetoric and is now warning foreigners to get out of South Korea. so far he hasn't done much else except move a few missiles from one side of the country to the other. Will the day end with any being fired? I doubt it, he can't be that stupid.

Finally you will remember that I sent a letter of complaint to the Mail on Sunday regarding an article written by columnist Liz Jones, I posted the link in this blog. Well surprise, surprise I got a reply. The layout, punctuation and spelling is all original.

Thank you for your letter in response to Liz Jones’s column last Sunday in which she admitted parking in disabled bays.
It may not surprise you to learn that we have had a good number of messages from other readers expressing similar concerns to your own.
Of course Liz Jones’s views are entirely her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. We publish her work because it is thought-provoking and encourages debate. We do not always agree with everything she says or does and our readers are often divided about her.
Liz Jones has often highlighted disability issues through writing about her own deafness and her experiences of taking care of her elderly mother. In this case she believes that many people are narrow minded in thinking that providing a parking bay for disabled people is sufficient response. She thinks it makes the authorities feel good and smug but they may have no real idea what life is like for a disabled person.
You may disagree with her stance or the way she has expressed it and we are sorry if the article caused offence.
We have passed your comments to Liz Jones and are grateful to you for taking the trouble of writing.

Managing Editor

Not impressed.

Ah well it is tea time again, at least making it will while away a few minutes.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Goodbye Iron Lady, And Thank You.

Well I had a much, much better night but have woken up muzzy headed and deaf. One hot bath and several hot drinks later I'm less deaf and less muzzy headed but still feeling pretty awful. I've had a couple more dizzy spells but they were no where as bad as the last one so that is encouraging.

I swear I drank so much yesterday that there were slopping sounds coming from my stomach when I moved. I am assured by Peter that the stench of Olbas oil is almost unbearable and 'yes the TV is very loud'. I am feeling a little better in myself though and that is always a good sign. It could be the placebo effect of taking another antibiotic or the sheer relief that it isn't what I was dreading it to be but as long  I improve, who cares?

Peter has been very solicitous to the point of being a pain in the neck. Every time I got up from the settee it was 'what are you doing?' He is working today and the next two days so I'll get a bit of peace and won't be interrogated every time I need the loo, and with all this tea I'm needing the loo a fair bit. He means well though and I know that with Papworth looming on Friday I need to at least be well on the road to recovery. So I will sit and watch endless TV, read until I doze off and keep drinking and steaming, even though I am going almost crazy with the inactivity.

Fortunately, and I realise that sounds all wrong, there was a major event yesterday that kept me glued to the box all afternoon.

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain died after suffering a stoke at the age of eighty seven.

How strange that sentence sounds. MT was one of those people whom you imagined would live for ever, a bit like royalty or your own parents, anyone who seemed strong and invincible. Yes we all know she was in failing health and had numerous strokes but expected or not the country appeared to rock back on its heals in shock when the news broke. It was one of those 'where were you when' moments.

I think everyone accepts she was not a universally loved figure but love her or hate her you would be inhuman if you didn't admire her strength and drive. Unlike the recent crop of PM's MT was not a product of a privileged life and private school, she knew what it was to go hungry, to want what others had and she knew what war was like. Not for her the pussy footing around the liberal lefty political correctness brigade. She saw what needed doing and she did it, regardless of who it upset. She was braver than all the PM's that have come after her put together. She did what had to be done no matter how unpopular it made her, unlike the recent lot who always have one eye on the opinion polls.

Tony Blair was bright enough to recognise this strength and when he sent troops into Iraq and Afghanistan it was in the hope his actions would put his legacy up there with hers. The only problem was that when we went to war with Argentina we were fighting for our people and America supported us. She also didn't have to lie to get parliament and the people to back her.

As for the miners, steelworkers etc, well lets not forget that the union leaders, lead by a small bloke with a bad comb over called Arthur Scargill, played their part in that fiasco too. MT was right about the unions, they were crippling Britain and had far too much power. I remember walking around piles of stinking rubbish, and the rats that came with it and pleasant it was not. OK, I am ready to admit she could have tackled things a bit better and if union leaders were not so greedy and uncompromising maybe things would have turned out as a compromise everyone was happy with. However she knew that if she showed any weakness Britain would never recover so she did what had to be done.

What must never be forgotten though is that there was another side to her, the side that cried over the deaths of the soldiers she sent to war. The side that was a wife and mother and did her own cooking. Whatever you think of her politics she was a human being and a frail old lady at the end and just like any other human being in death deserves a little peace. And if you can't find it in your heart to respect the woman herself then give a thought to her grieving family. To you she may be the person you hate most in life but to them she was mum, auntie, grandma, sister, and surely they do deserve a little respect.

Unfortunately there are those so indoctrinated with hate that, even though a good deal of them were not even born at the time, they have taken to the streets, Twitter, Facebook etc, to rejoice at her passing. These vile insults have been lead by the odious George Galloway of the ironically named Respect party. A man who wouldn't know respect if it got up and bit him on the nose. Maybe it is because of my situation but I find celebrating the loss of a human life, any human life, immensely distasteful. Fortunately these idiots are in the majority and even life long enemies have come out and condemned this turn of events.

So there it is, a potted history of what I remember of the Thatcher years. There is a lot I've left out, to chart it all would take weeks of blog space, and everything written is my own take on the situation. There are going to be those who vehemently disagree with my opinions, there usually are. And there will be those who want to correct me on a few things. However, before I'm flooded with hate mail and nit pickers, can I just remind you that this is a personal blog and my opinions are mine alone and won't be changed by screaming insults at me. For me personally, Margaret Thatcher was an icon of our time and I just wish I had her resolve, her strong morals and her physical and mental strength and will always remember Britain's one and only female Prime Minister. Thank you Margaret, may you rest in peace.

Right off to grab a bit of lunch, will it be Heinz tomato soup or Heinz tomato soup?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Falling Over In The Dark

That's embarrassing.

After ringing work yesterday to say I'd be back in today and assuring my supervisor I felt much better it's all gone pear shaped.

I stayed up to watch The King's Speech, which I thought was brilliant, and then headed to bed laying out my uniform and setting the alarm along the way. Sleep came quickly and it must have been a deep one as when I emerged at around four to go to the loo I felt very groggy. Then it happened the room began to spin and I vomited violently. Clinging onto the bath I shut my eyes but that only made the room spin faster. I was sweating now and I could feel water running between my shoulder blades but I felt no pain. Peter rushed in and I suddenly realised that the wailing sound was me calling for help.

He got me back to bed and then went to fetch a glass of iced water, I'd have preferred a cup of tea but I wasn't going to get that until we were both sure the vomiting was over. The episode was over as quickly as it had come and apart from feeling cold in my damp pj's I didn't appear to have suffered any lasting effects.  I went back to the bathroom, had a quick wash and changed my nightwear and then went back to bed. I couldn't get warm though and shivered until dawn when Peter greeted me with a cuppa and said there was no way I was going anywhere on my own. His argument was what if that happened in work or God forbid in the car? I could kill myself or someone else. He's right of course and as soon as I could I got on the phone and made an appointment with my GP while Peter notified work that I was not going to be in after all.

The first thing I thought of as a possible cause was a line infection. They can come on very quickly so after a shower I ripped off my dressing to check. The site was clean and dry with no hint of swelling, redness or discharge. Not that then, I dressed the site and sighed with relief. A line infection is a reoccurring nightmare for anyone with a permanent IV line fitted. So with that eliminated I didn't know what the cause was, all I knew was I didn't feel quite myself. I had a shock when I caught sight of myself in the mirror. My skin was completely white and my lips almost black. I looked very ill indeed, terrific but what was causing it? My chest feels brilliant, with three more tablets to go it is as clear as a bell and my oxygen sats are right back up in the nineties, so my chest infection hasn't come back. I was at a loss and couldn't wait to see my GP to get some answers. Fortunately I was able to get a very early appointment and we were there by half past nine, I say 'we' because Peter wouldn't let me drive myself.

I more or less walked straight in and after a thorough examination and a lot of 'ah-ha' noises from the doctor I've come home with more antibiotics, a sick note for a week, acute sinusitis and an ear infection. Well I guess that explains the dizzy feeling and the sickness. I have to steam, drink lots of hot fluids and rest. Whoop De Doo, that's all I need on the week I'm due at Papworth for my three month check. Still it's not another chest infection, so in a way that's a good thing. However I have five days to at least recover a little bit. My GP's parting shot was that 'there are a lot of nasty bugs going around at the moment and I expect you'll catch most of them.' What a charmer.

I was delighted to hear that one little girl got her miracle this weekend. With a bit of luck, thanks to some generous person, she will grow up just like any other little girl and may even have kids of her own one day. Although I am enormously pleased for her I also felt a little sad that my miracle hasn't come yet. Please, please, please sign up for organ donation and perform a little miracle of your own.

So with nothing else for it and a very firm Peter watching my every move all I can do is lie on the settee and rest up. I am being force fed hot tea at the moment and a bowl of steaming water will be ready in a few minutes complete with Olbas Oil and a towel. It seems Peter is determined not to have to pick me up off the floor again.

All I've got to do now is ring work and give them the bad news and pop the sick note in the post, or rather Peter will pop the sick note in the post. I'm not allowed out of the house until I have to go to Papworth on Friday. All I can say is thank goodness I bought those books when I did. I can't come to any harm reading, I hope.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Pumped Up

I was so angry this morning I did something I've never done before, I wrote a letter of protest. Well email actually but same thing.

What made me so angry? Well this article

Read it and see how you feel, lets hope there are lots and lots of parking tickets coming her way.

So with feathers slightly ruffled back to the blog. I had a bit of a turn last night. I was standing in the bedroom when the room began to swim and I felt really sick. I slumped down on the bed gasping for breath and my heart felt as though it was trying to break free of my chest. I've had a few of these episodes lately but none as bad as this. After, what seemed a lifetime, it suddenly cleared and I was back to normal. Weird or what?

My chest infection continues to clear but I now have a head cold. I knew I shouldn't have gone to that hospital on Friday. Every time I go I pick something up. Still I am feeling much better than I felt last week and with three days of antibiotics to go I think the infection will clear up nicely.

Apart from my little turn I also had a hissy fit over my pump.

The pump and the line that attaches it to me.

I get so fed up of having an hour of my day, every day taken over by pumps and needles and medication. Apart from being boring it is a real pain in the backside. One little slip up and I have to start from scratch as I cannot risk getting any infection in my line. I also hate having to cover everything in cling film whenever I want a shower. I've forgotten once or twice and then worried for days afterwards that I might have infected myself. Popping pills is nothing, no matter how many, to the preparation and changing of the pump, not once but twice a day, every day, for the rest of my life or until transplant, whichever comes sooner.

Yesterday I decided I'd had enough and I wasn't going to do it anymore but after half an hour of ranting and muttering to myself I decided I didn't want to be rushed into hospital, especially the Lethal and Deadly, and sat down and got on with it. I'll be fine now for another couple of months and then I'll have another 'moment' and carry on. It's what I do, it's how I cope.

From the top left; alcohol wipes, clear dressing, line, two dressing packs,
two boxes of meds, two 50ml syringes, two cassettes,
three packs of sterile gloves, four needles, two 10ml syringes,
one sachet of Normasol sterile water

Last night I had a dream that I was walking up a mountain, back pack on, bottle of water in hand. The sun was shining and, although it was hot and the going tough, I was reveling in the experience. When I woke up I realised I was reliving my trek up the volcano in Hawaii. The last time I remember being really well. One day I'll repeat the adventure but when I do I'll treasure it far more than I did then. I was fit and healthy and took it for granted as everyone does, such a shame that we never realise how lucky we are until it is all taken away.

On the beach at Wakiki

This afternoon I am taking Andrew to the airport as he is flying out to Bulgaria to spend a week with his girlfriend. I've only just got used to him being home and now the house will be quiet again and the fridge and larder well stocked, well for a week anyway.

I've decided that despite my cold I'm going back to work tomorrow. I feel fine in myself, even though I'm a little bit bunged up, so I'm going to give it a go. If I feel ill or find I'm getting too tired I'll come home again but I am already getting cabin fever so I have to try.

The weather is improving. My weather station recorded a temperature of 10.4C yesterday afternoon. Even though it is still devoid of any colour the garden looked quite inviting. I resisted though, I am definitely not up for that as yet. With a bit of luck we might get a whole week of double figures. I'll just be happy if Peter doesn't have to scrap ice off the car tomorrow morning.

P.S. For those of you who have asked, yes the picture on the side bar was taken before PH.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A Little Spending Spree

And she's back!

Feeling so much better today, thank God for antibiotics, I am almost back to normal. I started feeling better yesterday but still needed oxygen to walk the short distance from car to hospital for the tests I'd been ordered to have. It was standing room only at the blood test place but on spying my oxygen tank at least a half a dozen people rose to their feet to offer me a seat. Feeling cheeky I took my warfarin book along and explained I'd missed an appointment and could they do that at the same time. Luckily I got a nurse who was very smiley and more than happy to obliged. There was also no argument about the size of the needle either.

After my hospital trip we dropped into Tesco as I was desperate for fruit and, wait for it, ginger beer. I've developed a real taste for the stuff and it is currently my drink of choice. This worried Peter a little because the last time I was so obsessed was when I was carrying Andrew. There are no little surprises on the way though so why this has happened I don't know. It is a good thing to have though as ginger is known to thin the blood and lower blood pressure. I managed to stroll slowly around the shop with my oxygen on but I got very tired towards the end of the trip.

After such a busy morning it was home for a cuppa, lunch, and for me an hour's lie down to recover. I couldn't sleep so just rested cuddled up to Tarmac listening to him purr. He seems better again today and had a spell of paw waving with Smirnoff when he also tried to join me on the bed.

Smirnoff on my desk

Andrew is off to Bulgaria on Sunday and wanted to buy his girlfriend a present so rather reluctantly I joined him and Peter on a trip to Milton Keynes. I took my scooter and my oxygen with me and to be honest it wasn't that bad. However I should NEVER go shopping when I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. First stop was L'Occitane where I bought some of their delicious Shea butter hand cream and a Shea butter lip balm. Next stop was Lush, bath bomb heaven and then lastly Waterstones where they were having a buy one and get another half price. Ten books later Andrew was dragging me out of the shop but I now have a complete series to read and a few 'next in series' that I was waiting to buy to complete series I'd already started. So the credit card took a bashing but I'm all set if the call comes tonight as I have enough reading material for about two months.

To finish our day off we dropped in on Costco and picked up some cheese and jalapeƱo bagels which I love toasted and smothered in cream cheese. Back home I flopped on the settee while Peter and Andrew fussed around putting the shopping away and getting tea then I just lay with my feet up watching Eastenders and MasterChef before an early bedtime. I did far too much, far too soon but I enjoyed myself and right now I need to have as much fun as I can get.

Today is a lazy day. I stayed in bed until gone nine and then took a long bath before a cuppa and the papers. After I've finished this blog I'm making a very quick lunch, fajitas, and will spend the afternoon reading, surprise, surprise.

I got an exciting message from my brother this morning. He and his family are going to be holidaying in this area in July and would I like to meet up. Well of course I jumped at the idea. I haven't seen my brother since we all met up for my Mother's birthday two years ago so I'm really excited to have this to look forward too.

The family at Mum's birthday lunch
I don't know about everyone else but I set myself little goals throughout the year. Not big ones but ones that if I reach and manage will be another triumph over PH. So far I have now got about five evenly spaced 'goals' to aim for. I'm sure they are what keep me going. It is easier to hope you make it for another couple of months than another couple of years. Never set yourself up for failure as each 'win' is a real boost and improves the attitude towards dying immensely. As they say, if I've got to go I'm going to slid sideways kicking and screaming into the grave while having the time of my life.

Well time to chose a book, have a cup of tea and settle down for a restful afternoon.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Evil

Things are not going well.

Far from waking up feeling better today I awoke with pain at the bottom of my ribcage and feeling distinctly rough. Now I know it was too much to expect any improvement from just one day of antibiotics but I really hoped I wouldn't be feeling worse. I'm hoping the tests I having tomorrow will come back clear but at the moment it doesn't seem likely.

I spent yesterday doing nothing. I systematically dozed through every programme I tried to watch and so by seven last night I was actually feeling quite lively. The all day oxygen probably helped with that a bit too. So I decided to make some soup and settle to watch MasterChef, which I love. Well it is nice to know even the best cooks can have disasters.

After that I went to bed and got lost in The Templar Conspiracy by Paul Christopher, a strange mix of religion, history and politics but a very good read. Of course I couldn't get to sleep, who'd have though that, and spend the first half of the night tossing and turning. Just as I was finally dropping off Tarmac decided to be sick in the door way. After cleaning up (I didn't want to wake Peter, he had an early start this morning) I finally stumbled into bed at around four and fell into a deep sleep.

Relaxing after a busy night.

I am getting worried about Tarmac. He has far outlived the dire prediction of the vet but, although he doesn't seem to be in pain, he isn't eating as much as he did and the vomiting is getting more frequent. I'm going to have to take him back but I just know the vet will want to put him to sleep instead of treat him. He's curled up asleep on my lap at the moment and looks happy and content. I don't want to lose him but I don't want him to suffer either. It is such a difficult decision and one I won't be able to put off much longer.

Naturally, having nothing to do, I've been taking a more interest in the news than I usually do and must admit I'm feeling a growing alarm over what is happening in North Korea.

Everyone, including the South Koreans, have so far dismissed the threats and grand standing as just a new leader flexing his muscles and are more or less convinced it will come to nothing more than rhetoric. I'm no longer sure that Dough Boy is just saber rattling. Looking at him he is totally devoid of emotion or expression. His pasty, plump face barely moves and the eyes seem blank. This could just be his public persona, he might be the life an soul of the party in private but I think there is something more sinister going on. I'm wondering whether he is actually drugged up to the eyeballs and is just the front man for a load of generals frustrated at his father's lack of 'ambition'.

You know you think I'm cute.

Whatever there now seems to be a very real danger that we might wake up tomorrow to find world war three has started. To be honest any country would have to be very brave or very stupid to threaten the might of America these days. If he does set the ball rolling America could quite easily bomb North Korea off the face of the earth so why is he doing it? Goodness knows but lets hope a grown up steps in and puts a stop to it before 'Dough Boy' throws all his toys out of the pram.

The other story I'm following rather closely is that of the Philpotts and the six children they killed in an attempt to win a custody battle and get a bigger house.

They have been found guilty, which really isn't surprising so now the wait for the sentence is on.  Personally I think this is one of those rare occasions when I wish this country had capital punishment but we don't, pity. For me nothing less than a whole life sentence would satisfy, for him at least. The only trouble is that it would mean the tax payer will still end up paying for his bed and board but this time I don't think anyone would mind.

So I am left at to the tender mercies of Andrew this morning, who is still asleep. In a minute I'm going to get myself downstairs, make a cup of tea, hook myself up to my oxygen and watch Sky News. With a bit of luck he'll have surfaced in time for lunch but I have soup and fruit on standby, just in case. I'm hoping there will be an old film on this afternoon, if not I think I'm going to have to break out a Star Trek or two and imagine a world where anything from a brain tumour to radiation poisoning can be fixed by a little box being waved over the patient. If only.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Lungs On Fire

This blog is going out a little earlier than I'd planned because I'm home feeling rough.

I knew I was in trouble yesterday to be fair. I was short tempered, extraordinarily tired, even though it was my first day back after a long weekend, a not so delicate shade of purple and coughed and sneezed throughout the day. I was hoping that it was just the snivels like I had before and could be brushed off. Not so unfortunately, when I got up this morning my chest was burning and had that familiar 'heavy' feeling. Despite my New Year's Resolution I stood in the bathroom for several minutes torn between the sensible option, going back to bed, or the old me option of 'just getting on with it'. Thankfully sense won that internal tug of war so here I am, feeling slightly guilty but also pleased with myself. It is after all only the second day off sick since February so I'm doing really well for me. If I rest as much as I can and make sure I take my antibiotics I should be back on my feet in days rather than weeks and fighting fit for Monday.

For now though I've been ordered onto the settee and am being plied with hot tea, Complan and fresh fruit. My appetite has taken a dive and I couldn't face breakfast so I'm eating and drinking what I can. My youngest has taken over the kitchen duties and is insistent on using his newly gained medical knowledge to 'give me the once over'. My pulse, blood pressure, oxygen sats have all been checked and my chest listened too. I've had my oxygen mask slapped onto my face as the sats are down to 79% and told in no uncertain terms not to take it off. I am to be checked again in a couple of hours to see if there has been any improvement. All my doctors, friends and family say how lucky I am to have a medic in the family who can look after me. At the moment all I am thinking is that it is bloody annoying.

I have phoned my GP who is happy to let me get on with it as 'if you say you have an infection I believe you', but will arrange an x-ray and some blood tests for Friday to check the tablets are working. Since going on the transplant list my brilliant GP has become even more attentive and makes sure all the stops are pulled out to get me better as quickly as possible when I ring in sick. I can't say I'm not being looked after.

Yesterday was busy, busy, busy.

It started with the now familiar morning ritual of scrapping ice off the car. When will it get warmer? I'm fed up of not just being able to get into my car and drive in the mornings. Then on the way to work I tangled with that damned Pheasant again. I swear he knows what time I go through 'his patch' every morning and lies in wait for me. This time I thought I'd got him despite swerving around the blighter but no, my rear view mirror showed him sauntering back into the hedgerow, chest puffed out with pride. One day I'm going to give up trying to miss.

How is it possible, at twenty past seven on the first day after Easter weekend to have two new sets of traffic lights? Of course I got to each one at just the wrong moment and spent at least five minutes just sitting while absolutely nothing came the other way. Needless to say I came home via the duel carriageway and motorway.

I also received a miserygram from the Warfarin clinic complaining that I'd missed an appointment last Thursday, an appointment I'd not received notification of and couldn't have attended if I did as I was working. The letter gave me a slap on the hand and arranged for another appointment on, yes you guessed it, Thursday. So I rang them up when I got home and had a moan and to her credit the receptionist said she didn't know why they had done that as my records clearly state I come in on Fridays. A new appointment is being sent out.

Well time for a nap, I can't get over how tired I feel. Hopefully I'll be able to report an improvement tomorrow.