Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Out of the Frying Pan.....?

Now that I've switched to Bloopa, sorry Bupa, I was sort of expecting things to get a bit better. I mean no one could be worse than Healthcare at Home, could they?

Enough Normasol to Bathe in.
Well I'm beginning to think I was wrong. To be fair, I have only had one delivery so far with another expected next week, so maybe we just need to get used to each other.

There are very good things about them. They actually ring you when they say they will and it's a week before delivery, not the two weeks H@H used to do, which means it's easier to calculate what you are going to need. So top marks for reliability and sense there. My first delivery arrived right when they said it would and there was only one mistake, that was the batteries but that's because they didn't know which pump I was on and was easily sorted.

Since them they have rather let the side down.

I forgot to order dressing in my first order. I'd not checked my store properly and was convinced I'd got more than I thought. I had yet to receive my welcome pack with all the phone numbers I need so contacted the hospital who rang Bupa, who rang me. No problem they said, we will pop them in the post today. The dressings duly arrived but were the wrong type, these were the type I knew I was allergic too. Back on the phone and once again a quick response. Yes they would make sure they were IV 3000 this time. Package duly arrived and they were IV 3000 but the wrong size. Now after a third phone call I've been promised the right type and size will be delivered tomorrow. We will see.

Spending the afternoon with this chap...
I still do not have the promised welcome pack, though I have been promised faithfully, by three different people on three different occasions, that they are sending one out. I know what is going to happen and I think you do too. When they arrive if anyone needs a spare please let me know.

However the most bizarre event was the arrival, unannounced of a huge box containing 750 sachets of Normasol. Normasol is the sterile solution I use to clean my line entry site, I use two or three sachets per week. That means I now have four years worth. I think we can assume I'll have my transplant before I get through that lot. Again if anyone needs any, let me know.

I had a lovely conversation with them this morning when they rang up for my stock levels. The lady was very sympathetic and another welcome pack has been promised, along with dressings. She also promised to just send what I needed. Will that happen, well I'll have to wait until next Wednesday to find out. I will keep you posted.

Health wise I am feeling a bit worse again today. The nagging headache is back, Peter has it too, and my throat is on fire. My chest, however remains clear and my SATs high. I have abandoned work for this week, it is just not worth the effort it would take to get me there.  In some ways I hate head colds more than chest infections. At least with an infection you know the antibiotics will clear it up in a week or two. A head cold is a law unto itself and there is no knowing how long it will keep you in it's grip. So it's back on the settee with honey and lemon and a bag or oranges. I'm aiming for a Vit C overload. this little chap.

I'm digging out my Sherlock boxed set for the afternoon so with every cloud etc. That and a cuddle from Smirnoff and I'm sure things won't look quite so bad.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Spider Stand Off

You all know I love autumn. However there is one aspect I absolutely hate and that is the sudden upturn in spiders running around. These eight legged fiends are only trying to find a nice warm place to winter but why does it have to be my house?

Yesterday evening I was following Doctor's orders and relaxing on the settee when I felt the need for a cuppa. I got up, boiled the kettle, walked back into the living room, and froze. There right in the middle of the floor was an enormous spider. It seemed to spot me at the same time and backed up a little before waving two of it's legs at me. I shot back into the kitchen and took a few moments to calm myself down. I was on my own with an unwanted intruder. What to do? I didn't want to leave it as that would mean not being able to go back into that room knowing it was lurking somewhere. The only thing to do was trap it and remove it.

Now usually I have men to do this sort of work for me but, wouldn't you know it, they were both out. This would mean approaching the thing myself. I sorted through the cupboard looking for a glass big enough to contain it, remember in my mind I was dealing with something the size of the Harry Potter spiders, and fixed on a wide tumbler. I crept back into the room and for a moment couldn't see it. Fighting the rising panic I peered around the arm of the sofa and found it checking out the DVDs. With one swift movement I slammed down the glass, my quarry was trapped! I sank back on the sofa breathing hard while my enemy threw itself against the side of the tumbler with such vigor I thought it was going to tip over.

I always get teased about my fear of spiders. To be fair I am much better than I was, smaller spiders don't bother me at all now but anything bigger than a one pound coin gets me trembling and sweating, and this one was much, much bigger than that. However I'd been brave enough to catch it so took a picture to prove my courage. The spider was now sulking and had curled itself up into a ball. It was while reviewing my photo that I noticed one of it's legs were trapped. Now even though I hate them I don't want to hurt them so I lifted and moved the glass to release it. This had an immediate effect on the spider who uncurled itself and started throwing itself against the glass again. This spider wanted to eat me.

I retreated to the other side of the room and gave myself a talking too. 'It's only a spider, it won't hurt you.'
'Did you see what one did to Alex's leg?'
'Yes but if you are careful it won't bite. You can't leave it under the glass for hours, it will suffocate.'
I have to explain at this point that my friend Alex got bitten by a spider recently and suffered a very nasty reaction. In the end I decided the only thing I could do was get it out into the garden. This meant I'd have to get up close and personal but there you go, it had to be done. I found an old card and gentle slipped it under the glass and spider, which was going berserk, it really wanted to get me. I then opened the back door, switched on the patio light and went back into the living room. I took a deep breath and then gently lifted the whole contraption up and scurried as quickly as I could into the garden. I put the glass down but then was faced with another problem. That was a very angry spider and I had to get it out of the glass. I found a long stick and, at arms length, pushed the glass over before running back inside and slamming the door. I watched as the spider seemed to brush himself down and then sauntered off into the undergrowth. I left the glass outside for an hour before daring to go out and get it.

So, apart from being completely stressed out by that little event, how am I doing?

Well I'm feeling a bit better today. My chest isn't so sore and my cough has become dry again. It turns out that it is not a chest infection but a virus. Doctor speak for 'I don't know what it is but don't give it to me.' I have antibiotics to use should it decide to descend but apart from that its the usual get plenty of rest, drink lots, gargle. As I'd rather keep antibiotics for when I really, really need them I am happy with this advice. I have been told not to return to work until I am fully recovered though or I could end up catching something else. Having had winters where I've returned to work only to fall sick again a few days later, I've decided to take the advice. Better I'm off for a week now and then be well for the next few months than go back to soon and be in and out like a yo-yo. I haven't actually been sick since April, which is a miracle for me. Yes there was that week in May but that was down to a line malfunction rather than being actually sick. With that in mind I don't think they are going to mind to much if I look after myself for a bit.

Sunday was lovely. Laurence came to see me and we watched the Grand Prix together while munching away on spaghetti and chocolate muffins. One person was especially glad to see him and spent ages having a really big cuddle. Smirnoff and Laurence were firm friends when Laurence lived with us. Smirnoff was hardly out of his room. So whenever Laurence comes home the cat takes every opportunity to sit on him. We have arranged to meet up again in early October when we all have some time off.

Two other things of note. Healthcare at Home has finally rung to arrange to pick up their pumps. They are supposed to come on 29th September. It will be interesting to see whether they manage to still with that or not.

I finally booked my flue jab. The doctor said I needed to leave a week between being ill and getting the jab for safety. So it is booked for 8th October.

So that's it really. Staying at home is pretty boring so there isn't that much to write about. Next blog? When something interesting happens.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Officially Autumn

Yes it is that time of year again, my favourite.

For me autumn signals cool crisp mornings, the smell of bonfires, kicking through leaves on a long walk, picking blackberries and gathering conkers. Autumn encompasses everything that makes me smile.

Unfortunately this year autumn has coincided with my twenty first month of waiting on the transplant list. It is now looking more likely that I will not get my new lungs by Christmas and more likely that I'll hit the two year marker. I know, I know, there are people out there who have been waiting longer and there are those who will never get their call but, and call me selfish, I'm finding it hard to be sympathetic with other people right here, right now.

Autumn means watching the squirrels
 burying their nuts in the lawn.
My friend Stacie, for instance, has just past the two years, five months marker and has written a wonderful blog about it called 'Acceptance'. Please follow the link on the right hand side bar to read it. I won't spoil it for you by repeating anything here except that she likens waiting on the list to hoping to win the lottery. It is a very good analogy and I want to explore it just a bit further in my blog.

There are three main types of people who tend to enter the lottery. Most are in it for greed, some are in it for fun and then there are the small minority who are desperate. It is this last group that are most like a person on the waiting list. These people have found themselves in a situation, whether through their own fault or someone else's, and the only way they can see forward is winning to lottery and getting enough money to solve their problems. Those on the transplant list know only a new organ can solve their problems. Given the odds, the chances of this happening are very slim and in all honesty slightly better with the lottery. With the lottery all you have to do is pay your two pounds and hope. It doesn't matter where you got your pound, how old it is, which country it represents, it has just as much chance as everyone else's.

It isn't that simple with transplant. Your tissue type, blood group, antibodies will not be the same as everyone else. You have to wait for a person with your specific qualities to die and be good enough to donate. Much more complicated than the lottery.

Also with the lottery you win, you walk away with the money and you spend it how you wish. Not so with a transplant. You are signing up to a very restrictive life full of don't do this or that, doctors and hospitals. Some people have told me that the frustration of not being able to just 'get on with it' is greater than the frustration of waiting. I'm not sure if that is true. Yes you do have a lot of hospital visits but then I do now, at least afterwards I could get out and do things in between those visits, unlike now.

So what happens if you do win? The worst people who win the lottery, at least in my eyes, are the ones who say it won't change them. What a waste! If winning the lottery isn't going to change how you live why enter it in the first place? If I every heard an organ recipient say something like that I'd go mental. I'd be the best sort of lottery winner. I'd spend it. Yes I'd give a load to charity, and of course help out my family and friends but mostly I'd have a life long party. Why stick it in the bank? You can't spend it when you are dead.

The worst sort of organ recipient is the ungrateful one. I was in Papworth a few months ago and found myself sitting opposite a man with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. I couldn't work out what his problem was until a nurse came out to speak to him. His rudeness was staggering. The nurse was asking him if he'd been keeping up his book. The book is something all post transplant patients get. It lists your meds and you use it to record the results of the homes tests you have to carry out, temperature, weight, etc. This man practically snarled at her that he hadn't and wasn't going to either. 'It's all a waste of time' he growled. Now obviously I was only eavesdropping and didn't know his circumstances, he may have had problems I didn't know about, but the way he spoke to the people who saved his life was appalling. He gave the impression that he wished he hadn't bothered, and that is unforgivable.

If that were me I'd be kissing that nurse's feet. I certainly wouldn't grumble about spending time making sure everything was still working properly. The earlier they spot rejection the earlier it can be treated and stopped. What is the point of having new organs if you are not prepared to look after them properly?

Sorry about that, went into rant mode.

I'm grumpy because I'm not well and have had to call in sick to work. I'm going to have to visit the doctor tomorrow but I'm pretty sure I've got a chest infection now, my cough has become productive and my ribs hurt like hell. My SATs are still at 92% though, which is weird. I shouldn't complain because if my SATs start to drop I'm in all sorts of trouble but it is weird, very weird.

So no doubt I'll be on antibiotics by this time tomorrow and feeling rather sorry for myself.

I'll keep you posted, next blog tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful

Well I'm still feeling pretty rough but I have two things that have made me smile this weekend.

My boys.
I am the proudest mum in the world.
First, of course, is that I'm going to get to see Laurence tomorrow. We see each other quite regularly and talk every week on the phone but I always get excited when I know he's coming over. I'm going to try and rouse myself into making a cake especially for his visit.

The second thing was Andrew getting official notice from the University of passing his course. He has now sent off his registration and will be a fully fledged paramedic in approx two weeks time. It was a huge sigh of relief all around. He'd been told he'd passed but there is nothing quite as certain as that piece of paper with the university crest and the word 'pass'. Next step is passing the C1 test and he's done. It's been a tough, and sometimes fraught, few years but he made it in the end.

Other than that Friday was just as pants as Thursday had been.

It started fairly well. I woke late, had a leisurely breakfast and a soak in a bath bomb. The fuzzy head of the past few days had gone but the sore chest remained and was now accompanied by a cough. Damn it, I know where this is going, I'm either developing a cold or a chest infection. My cough is still unproductive so I'm keeping the antibiotics at bay at the moment as I like to be sure they are needed before taking the plunge.

The afternoon was where it all started to go pear shaped. Andrew had asked us to go down to his new share house with him to do the usual checks and carry some of the stuff he couldn't fit in his own car. We set out after an early lunch and the plan was arrive at the house, unload, admire the room and return home with a quick detour into Tesco's on the way. What could possibly go wrong? Well the run down was fine, it was early afternoon so no build up of traffic or speed restrictions. It was only when we actually got to Hatfield that Andrew announced he'd left his keys back at our place. He was time restricted as he had to pick up his results from the Uni and post his registration off so we volunteered to go back for him. The return trip again was fairly quick and quiet.

Heading back to Hatfield, keys and a few other things safely stowed, we got an inkling that this was going to take longer than expected as the traffic was building in both directions. Arriving at Hatfield we got shown around a very nice roomy house and then presented with the pass paper. Hugs all around and a quick look at the garden and pond and we were back on the road. The journey to Dunstable was very slow and stop start in some areas but we made it and only discovered the source of the trouble coming off the slip road. There was a huge accident on the roundabout under the flyover. Traffic was building and we at once made the decision not to go back home via the motorway.

Tesco was quite quiet, probably because of the accident, and we zoomed around in record time. It was then we hit trouble. During the short time we had been in Tesco the road from Dunstable to the motorway was completely clogged, probably into the center of Dunstable itself. Our original plan to go through the town center and onto the A5 was quickly revised to trying to get into Houghton Regis and return home via Toddington. That plan also proved difficult but it was the only choice left so we went for it. We dived off the main routes and by driving down a series of residential roads we managed to find ourselves near the Houghton Regis roundabout. From there we had to endure the stop/go progress just like everyone else but it was still much quicker than trying to get onto the motorway would have been. It was gone five when we arrive home so we unpacked the shopping and sank onto the settee with mugs of tea and thick slices of the fresh bread we'd bought as a treat.

My boys now with their Australian Cousins James and Luke.
Laurence on the Left, Andrew on the right.

Of course all this running around had taken it's toll and I was asleep on the settee by nine so had an early night. This morning I woke with a sore throat and even sorer chest. I still have a cough but it remains, so far, unproductive. I'm very tired though so I'm taking it very, very easy today. We nipped out to pick up some stuff I'd forgotten yesterday and now I'm going to spend the rest of the day drinking lots and eating plenty of fruit. I am hating the fact that a small virus, that would be a minor irritation to anyone else, as completely wiped me out.

So time to get those vitamin C levels up. More tomorrow.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland the Brave (and Wise)

As you know I try to keep politics out of my blog but I don't feel I can post today without mentioning the Referendum that took place yesterday in Scotland.

This has dominated the news both sides of the border for weeks. And like most people I felt, and I do recognise how important this day was, the media went into overkill. In fact it was so bad that I believe even the death of the Queen wouldn't have topped it.

The run up has provided both concerns and laughter.

The concerns come in the viciousness, particularly of the 'Yes' campaign it has to be said, of some of the supporters. I always feel that it is those who do not have the intellectual capacity to put their point across verbally that resort to violence. So it was proved time and time again as people were beaten just for voicing a different point of view. At times I did wonder what Scotland would become if the 'Yes' side won. Would English tourists ever be safe to visit every again? Though the same can probably be said of a 'No' result. Unfortunately some people revert to childhood when they don't get their own way. I have not doubt some 'No' voters will be wondering whether it was worth it over the next few days.

Then there is the attack on celebrities that dared to voice their opinions, in particular those who are not even British. Some comments were justified, after all if you don't live in this country and are not either English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh what has it got to do with you? Some were not, if you are Scotland born but now live elsewhere I believe you are still entitled to your opinion, Scotland is after all your homeland. Others do not that think that and the nastiness was profound and unwarranted. The most vitriolic criticism was directed at Andy Murray. Andy dared to come out and say he would prefer to vote 'Yes' and suddenly he is public enemy number one. Yes he did make his fortune by representing Great Britain, not England or Scotland you note, Great Britain. Yes he did get a lot of his funding from English companies and clubs, though I'm pretty sure they all consider themselves to be British, and yes he lives in England so doesn't get a vote. However he is a Scot and as a Scot he has far more right to voice an opinion than I, being Welsh, does. No one has come after me with burning pitch folks but they are all out for him.

The loudest laugh was provided by a woman ringing up on my local radio station yesterday morning. 'Can you tell me where the polling stations are because I haven't seen any advertised?' A stunned silence followed before the presenter gently told her that those living in England didn't get a vote. I blame the media, anyone would think it was a general referendum .

As it is I woke up this morning to find I still lived in the United Kingdom. To be honest I don't feel particularly glad or sad. I'm just relieved that this time next week something else will be boring me to tears on the news.

I was sent home from work yesterday.

I'd been feeling off all week but couldn't quite put my finger on it. I thought it was holiday blues combined with a virus but there was nothing to give me enough of an excuse to stay at home so I just got on with it. However by Wednesday I was really down in the dumps and yesterday I just burst into tears in the tea room. Once started I just couldn't stop and I was sent home to rest.

The sort of job I do is quite stressful and it is very rare that you feel you've done a good job. Most of the time people are angry and abusive because you haven't given them the answer to their problem they were hoping for. Sometimes when you've been told for the seven millionth time that you're useless you start to wonder whether it's true.

However I'm now wondering whether there is a more physical reason as I don't feel all that good. I don't have a temperature and I don't have a productive cough either. My SAT's are good at 92% but my chest feels raw and my breathing laboured. I was debating whether to start my antibiotics and then the weather came on. Apparently the South, especially around the London area, has been suffering from smog over the last couple of days. Right around the time I felt my breathing change. So why were there not the usually warnings to stay inside etc. I watch or listen to the news and weather every morning while preparing for work and didn't hear a peep about any smog from anyone. The good news is that it is going to clear over the weekend due to wind and rain. Hopefully my chest will ease a bit too but for now I'll be almost permanently attached to my oxygen. If I've not improved by Sunday it will be doctor's and not work on Monday.

Andrew is moving out today to take up residence with three of his university mates. It makes sense as he has a lot of work coming up with his private company and it is all around London with early starts. Moving back to Hatfield will knock an hour off his travel time during rush hour. He also needs to visit the university office to pick up his official letter of graduation. Without this he cannot register and he needs to be registered in order to take up his post with East of England in October.

My feelings are mixed. Of course I will miss him, I'd got used to having him around again, but I shall also enjoy the days when Peter is at work and I'm on my own for a few hours. The blow will be softened by Laurence though, who is coming to see me on Sunday.

Well better get going, more tomorrow.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday, Day of Rest?

As this is officially the last day of my holiday I really should be relaxing and making the most of it. I can't  because I have things to do, such as iron my uniform for tomorrow and get my weeks supply off drugs prepared. Sunday, day of rest? Don't you believe it. Unless I am ill Sunday is usually the busiest day of the week for me. I might get to watch a film later this afternoon though, that's if I'm lucky.

The ruined abbey

My breathing is back to normal and I didn't need my oxygen last night so at least things are looking up there. Pity really, I feel like having a second week off but I've never been one to play on my condition and I don't intend to now. Besides in three weeks I have another ten day leave, and this time it will be a very much more sedate affair. I'm just going to kick back and relax, at least that's the plan but things can change.

On of the many gates providing access to the city

I've thought about repacking my hospital bag, it got raided for the holiday and things such as spare phone chargers removed, I just don't have the heart to do so as yet. I'm in a 'what's the point' frame of mind. No doubt this has been brought on by the post holiday blues but I just can't face it, not this weekend.

One of the towers that form part of the fortifications

So now I'm going to bore you with the final part of my York adventure.

So excited I found this purely by accident.

After taking tea with the lovely Carole and Colin Ayrton we decided to visit the Jorvik experience. This is something we visited pre-children when it had just opened and we wanted to see if anything had changed. Carole had told us that it was very disabled friendly and so it proved to be. I didn't even have to get off my scooter for the travel through the village bit. They placed me and my trike on a sort of metal trolley which they then slide onto a specially adapted 'pod' I was given a pair of headphones so I could hear the commentary and away we went.

Part of The Shambles

I have to say I was very, very impressed. I was well looked after, given every consideration and, for once, wasn't given the impression that I was being a nuisance. It was a much slicker, much better thought out experience than the Canterbury Tales experience of last year. The only dodgy bit was the smells. Having a somewhat sensitive stomach at the best of times, I found myself feeling a little queasy on leaving.

An example of the carvings that adorn the Chapter House at York Minster

And talking of food, how did I cope. Well I missed my regular fruit intake to be honest. Breakfast did give me an opportunity to catch up a bit though. There were bowls of fruit, cereal and a traditional English fry up available so I had a very small portion of bacon and egg and a bowl of fruit followed by a big mug of tea. Peter had a big cooked breakfast. For lunch we had previously agreed on sandwiches as this would be quick and cut less into our sight seeing time. In the evening we went out and I have to say it was a bit of a mixed bag.

The famous rose window

On the first night we tried a Chinese. The hot and sour soup was delicious, the best we've tasted, but the rest of the meal let them down. The rice was under cooked and the sweet and sour chicken rather tasteless. The second night we went for good old fish and chips, which we ate in the car. The plan was to have something filling and quick and then wander around taking night photo's. Unfortunately, as I explained in a previous blog, I was just too tired to even try. The last night we went for our favourite, an Italian. We ended up sharing an enormous pizza and it was delicious. When we return we will definitely go there again.

A beautiful example of the windows

So there you go. That just about covers it. There is far more to tell, which I might add to future blogs on days when there is not much else happening, but I always believe you can have too much of a good thing.

A grotesque in situ

I have included more pictures of the trip here. I have now finished uploading everything onto flickr and face book, so if you want to take a peek please do. I am now working my way through the flickr set adding comments, that's my work cut out until Christmas. I hope you like them and don't find them too boring.

And another one

Next blog Friday.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

A Photographer's Dream

I've almost caught up on my TV programmes, almost. I still have to watch 'Bake Off'  and a couple of Eastenders but the Tivo can relax a little now.

One of the windows post restoration

Today is going to be yet another rest day. My breathing has improved rapidly since yesterday which is now making me believe that the fridge in our hotel room wasn't adequate to keep my made up Veletri at the right temperature. It felt cold enough but without a thermometer it is difficult to tell. It would explain the sudden and rapid deterioration over the last day of my holiday and the equally rapid improvement over the last twenty four hours. Of course it could just be that I completely wore myself out and a long session on my oxygen has sorted me out. There is no way of knowing unless I repeat the experience and that is not going to happen any time soon.

A view of the Nave

Yesterday I told you about what I couldn't do so today I'm going to tell you what I actually managed to do.

Roman Emperor Constantine pictured outside the Minster

Well despite not being able to do the wall walk we decided to invent our own, so we went around the city following the wall as closely as we could. The result is that I got to see most of the interesting places but not the views that standing on the wall would give. We also did the Cat Walk, there are a lot of cat statues in York which are referred to as 'lucky cats'. There are twenty one to collect and the walk takes you through the more interesting roads such as the Shambles. We managed to get twenty cats but the last one was on a building covered in scaffolding so had to leave it. Another thing for the return visit.

Two of the Minster towers

We spent a happy half hour watching the stonemasons at work on the Minster. I expected a lot of hammering and banging but all we heard was a gentle tapping as they carved out the most intricate designs out of solid blocks of stone. The Minster is undergoing some extensive repairs at the moment and large sections were covered in scaffolding and some of the best windows were boarded up for restoration. I did manage to get some good shots though, which I will share with you here and in other blogs.

The Minster from the front

The Shambles was a trial as the pavements were very narrow. Fortunately all the pedestrians were very kind and got out of my way, mostly without me having to ask. I couldn't go into any of the shops though. The doorways were very narrow and all had either steps up or steps down. Nothing more than you expect from Tudor buildings but hardly wheelchair friendly. The Shambles is going to be a definite must revisit after transplant and I'm going to go in and browse in every shop.

One of the fabulous carved grotesques

I was also able to visit the ruined abbey, mostly because the grass was very flat and even. Unfortunately I had my 'photographer' head on, saw a shot with perfect lighting, went for it and promptly ran out of talent when it came to staying on my scooter. That's the trouble when you are really enjoying yourself, you tend to forget that you also need to look out for rocks and steer the scooter. The resulting bruises where I landed on my keys are developing nicely but are definitely not suitable for this blog. Apart from that the whole city is a photographers dream and if you keep your eyes open you can find many unusual things to shoot.

One of the Cat Walk statues

I found that my photography was also suffering this trip. Using the heavier long lenses was extremely difficult. I no longer have the strength in my arms to hold them steady, so Peter acted as impromptu tripod and held the lenses for me while I framed and took the shot. I also found it difficult to get into those weird positions that you sometimes need to adopt to get that perfect shot. Lying on my back on the floor for instance was fine on the way down but I needed a crane to get me upright again.

One of the many odd 'figure heads' dotted around the city

The night time photography also went to the wall. I was too tired and just couldn't be bothered with setting up tripods and taking light readings etc, etc. Again something that will be done on our next visit post transplant.

The shot that proved my undoing

Well I hope you enjoy the collection of photos in todays blog. I am continuing to update my flickr and facebook albums so keep watching. I will let you know when they are all done.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Holidays and Low Days

It was back to earth with a bang today as I had a clinic appointment at Papworth. The hope was to meet up with Stacie Pridden and Kath Graham, both of whom I know from the PH forum. I've met Kath before but never Stacie so I was very excited. However the hospital decided to mess things up by giving Stacie the fastest appointment ever and me the slowest. Ah well, we will have to keep trying, eventually we will manage to all be in the same place at the same time.

Ceiling of the Chapter House

The doctors were pleased with me overall. I'm still a couple of pounds off target weight but they are happy as long as I don't lose any. My SATs were 91% at rest so that is also good and they liked the results of the ECHO I had at the Brompton a couple of weeks ago. However the slide is still down and still very evident so they admit they need to get a bit of a wiggle on as regards the transplant. The doctor said that they were trying hard and were hopeful for a result soon. They always say that though so I'm not taking any notice.

The RAF Memorial

So back to the holiday.

Very ornate clock

I must say we had a fabulous time of it. The weather was just right all the way through, dry sunny and warm, not hot. I saw almost everything I wanted to but sadly, being stuck in a chair, not everything was available to me. I've already mentioned the wall walk, and of course there were other places I'd have liked to have visited but couldn't. Roman and Tudor architecture are not built to accommodate wheelchairs. I couldn't do any of the ghost tours either as they involved climbing stairs and tramping across graveyards in the dark.

The floor of the Chapter House

A definite highlight of the trip was meeting fellow PH sufferer Carole Ayrton and her husband Colin. We met for a coffee and a long chat and if only we lived close I think we would be great friends and meet up often. As it is I have now turned another face book friend into a real friend and that is always a joy. Carole brought me a very thoughtful gift of delicious biscuits to make it easier for me to gain weight. How lovely of her to think of my needs. I was so sad that our time was so short but I'm determined to see her again, and soon. (And not just because of the biscuits.)

Carole and Myself at the market

The big downside is that the trip made me realise how much I've deteriorated since we went away to Canterbury last year. Then I could walk short distances and was able to do stuff that was impossible on this trip. I was so tired by the end of the day that I literally fell into bed. If I could have had a rest day between each sightseeing trip I might have coped better but I couldn't so now I'm paying for it with a very sore chest and difficulty in breathing. The doctors couldn't find any evidence of infection at clinic today and my SATs are good so the conclusion is that I need to rest and I should be fine.

One of many memorials

I am sore for another reason too. Yes I fell off my scooter again. This time it was a graceful topple sideways but I still managed to bruise my arm, which I stuck out to save myself, and my hip, where I landed on my car keys. We were visiting the ruined abbey and I was toddling along quite happily over grass and gravel. Then I went across the corner of the building to take photos of the other side and failed to see the lump of rock in the grass. Over I went and lay there laughing while a thundering of feet told me help was on the way.

One of the restored cut glass windows

Another highlight was feeding squirrels in the Museum Gardens. These greedy little creatures took nuts from the palm of my hand, quickly buried them and then came back for more. I'd have happily stayed there all day if I could. I did make sure to wash my hands thoroughly afterwards though. They may look cute but can carry some nasty diseases.

Lectern in the for of a Gold Eagle

I am including several photos in this blog. I've taken over 500 so if you want to see them all then follow my flickr links on the right hand side bar or view them on face book where I've created an album. I haven't uploaded them all yet though, didn't want to crash the system, but they should all be there by Monday. I will also post more in the next few blogs.

The imposing exterior to York Minster

Now I'm going to follow doctors orders and catch up on a weeks worth of Eastenders. More tomorrow.