Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

I am a little bit miffed today and I'm even more miffed that the reason I'm so miffed is a soap opera.

Eastenders have the audacity to kill off my favourite character, Pat Butcher, but that's only the start of it. First they give her angina, they follow this up with a pulmonary embolism and then top it all off with cancer. It's the cancer I have issues with. The cancer is supposed to be so advance and so wide spread that she only has days left. I've known people with cancer and I know for a fact that people with cancer as advanced as hers is supposed to be would be rolling in agony months ago. All she's had is 'a bit of belly ache now and again'. She'd have also lost weight but if anything is larger than ever. Now I love my soaps, they are my wind down after a difficult day, they are something I look forward too when I'm so ill all I can do is watch TV but more and more they are becoming unrealistic in order to hype up the drama. For those who don't know, Pat has been in the soap for twenty five years so her death is going to be a huge event however she dies. A simple heart attack or even passing in her sleep would have sufficed. Instead they have turned the event into a pantomime and totally devalued it.

It has been an odd couple of days. The time of year brings out the best and the worst in people, add to that the total lack of common sense and there have been some very odd goings on. Most of it could be solved if people just thought about what they were doing and showed some consideration for others. I am ever so glad I'm off tomorrow, I think it will be manic.

A quick update on the three policemen hurt in a road accident. They are all still in hospital and said to be in good spirits. Thanks goodness for that.

As I write this I'm waiting for Laurence to arrive. He will be staying over night so we can have a big family dinner tomorrow. He's had a bit of a rough Christmas so I think being pampered by his mum will be just what he needs.

Andrew went out last night with friends and rolled in at quarter to one but still reasonably sober. I don't know if he felt guilty about waking me up coming in but when I arrived home all the vacumming and floor mopping had been done.

Tonight we will settle down in front of the TV with some snacks and champers and watch the fireworks while toasting in the New Year. 2011 has been a fairly crap year for me one way or another. I've spent a great deal of it in hospital and at one point was so poorly all I could do was sit. I'm hoping that 2012 will be better, in fact I'm hoping it will be my year and I finally get my transplant. And if I can't have my transplant then I hope I can at least avoid long periods of ill health.

Here's a Happy New Year to all, I hope your wishes and dreams come true in 2012. See you next year.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Bad Times

We had a tragedy in the village yesterday. A man stepped in front of a train. The police, fire and ambulance turned up in force and spent the next hour or so picking up the pieces. Apparently the station platform was a mess and passengers were stuck on the train for well over an hour before it was in a fit state to let them off.

How horrible! Why do people do this to themselves? Of course we don't know whether it was a suicide or an accident, no doubt the local press will tell us eventually. If it was an accident you have to ask why he was on the tracks? I'd have said it was too early in the evening for him to be drunk but of course these days it is perfectly possible to be drunk at six in the morning let alone six at night. I doubt we will ever know all the details but the media will undoubtedly embellish what they are told to make the whole thing as horrific as possible. It is the family I feel really sorry for, especially this time of year. I hope they are OK, or at least as OK as it is possible to be in these circumstances. Talking of family I couldn't help thinking of Andrew when I heard, if he wants to be a paramedic he is, sooner or later, going to have to deal with something similar. I hope he's strong enough because I know I would not be..

Also heard about three of our police officers being seriously hurt when two boy racers decided to dice with death and hurtle down one of our main roads on the wrong side. Two of the officers are serious but stable while the third is not so serious. As is always the way the person causing this mayhem escaped without a scratch and has been arrested. I hope all three policemen recover quickly.

I have lived in the village over twenty years and don't remember anyone being hit by a train here before, so naturally it is the topic of conversation wherever you go.  Ours is a quiet part of the world so to have two major incidents so close in location and date is very unusual and has the village doom merchants muttering about what the third one will be. In the newsagent one woman told me, rather too enthusiastically that all we need now is a pile up on the motorway. I bit my tongue, I hope and pray there will not be a third but for some it will be the icing on the cake.

I did my first seven hour stint today and boy am I tired. It must be six months since I worked more than six hours and although it is only one hour longer I definitely felt it. I was supposed to go out to Tesco this evening to get stuff in for the New Year meal but I was far too shattered so I'm going to have to call in on my way home tomorrow, joy. The trouble with me is that once I'm home with a cuppa in my hand and my feet up I just do not want to leave the house again.

As you know I've been travelling in to work rather early the last few days and on my travels have seen all kinds of wildlife from deer to foxes to some weird weaselly thing that ran across the road in front of me. Today I was privileged to see a barn owl, at least I think it was a barn owl. It was huge and quite light in colour and flew right across the road only a few feet in front of me. What a treat, I've seen owl in zoo's and at bird exhibitions in shopping centers but I've never seen one so close in the wild. Sometimes I really, really love living in the country.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Shopping In The Sales

Prince Phillip is out of hospital, we can all breath easy again knowing that Britain's favourite grumpy old man lives to carry on insulting foreigners on our behalf.

Today I decided that I'd had enough of lying on the settee stuffing myself with chocolate and watching crap so geared myself up to venture to the shops. I was surprised to find it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. We found a free parking space with very little trouble, I've had more trouble locating one on a normal Saturday, and were soon battling through the crowds. I tried to hire a scooter but all were booked out, in fact all were booked up for days so we brought my push along chair instead. However I decided to try getting around on my own two feet as I hate being in a chair when it is so busy. Inside the shopping center it was busier than the car park lead us to believe and it wasn't long before I began to feel very tired. In the end I was moving from bench to bench while Peter dashed in and out of the shops to see what was there. We looked at the TV's in John Lewis but agreed that as we didn't need one we'd leave it as the discounts were not that great. Peter looked at the photography stuff and I did a quick flit around the kitchenware, both coming away with empty hands. Our next stop was Waterson's as Peter had vouchers and he got a couple of books. To cut a long story short, after an hour an a half we came away with three paperbacks and a calender for the kitchen. How bad is that? The problem is that we both hate shopping and don't see the point of doing so unless we actually need something but at least we did try, even if we failed yet again.

At least our shopping experience wasn't as bad as that of those braving Oxford Street in London a couple of days ago. I cannot believe that someone was stabbed to death over a row over trainers. At first it appeared to be a case of shop rage but as more details emerge you have to wonder what the hell is going on with our young people today. As it turns out this was not a case of simple shop rage, this, it turns out, is gang related. Apparently there is a certain type of trainer that is worn by gang members, yes I know what you are thinking and no I don't know if each gang has a different trainer. Two rival gangs had rocked up to the shop selling the trainers, not to buy them, but to steal them. An argument broke out over who was stealing what and as a result one of them got stabbed and died. Is it bad that I have no sympathy for the lad that died or the gang members now 'helping police with their enquiries'? From my point of view you live by the trainer, you die by the trainer.

Spoke to my mother the other night and once again broached the subject of having a transplant. I've tried to speak to her about this twice now and am bemused and a little hurt that she doesn't even want to discuss it. She has been very enthusiastic and supportive throughout my battle with PH and the various treatments I've had but mention a possible cure and she clams up. I know some people find it hard to talk about things like this but as a former nurse I wouldn't have expect my mum to be squeamish. She found religion a few years back and has some odd views on various things as a result so I'm wondering if this is why she just won't talk about it. I'm not going to let her weird reaction stop me from going for it but I wish she'd back me on this as she has everything else.

Andrew had another driving lesson today. He did a perfect three point turn but managed to stall it yet again by choosing the wrong gear. He is still finding reversing around a corner incredibly difficult but all in all he enjoyed himself. His instructor is predicting him being ready to take the test at the end of February. He is still revising like fury and I'm very impressed that he has stuck with his revision programme as in the past it has tailed off within a few days. If he doesn't get good grade's in the January exam it will not be for the want of trying.

I'm back at work tomorrow but only for three days and then off for another five. I'm really looking forward to the New Year as Laurence will be coming to stay over New Year's Eve and we'll be having a big family meal New Year's Day. Can't wait!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Stuffing

As predicted time flew past me like water and before I knew it I was shoving the turkey in the oven and indulging in a buck's fizz. I don't drink, partly out of choice and partly because it might upset all the meds I'm on but I always relax the rules at Christmas, as a result I enjoy it more.

On Friday Peter ventured into Tesco at 0700 in the hope of picking up the last few bits and pieces in peace. He was sadly mistaken as even at that hour of the morning the place was heaving. When he got back we both agreed that if we'd forgotten anything it would have to stay forgotten as we were not going back to any supermarket this side of Christmas. I was in work and arrived home to find the kitchen and dining room absolutely pristine, Peter and Andrew had decided to give both a deep clean before the big day.

 As we were relaxing in the evening with a drink and some nibbles the news came in that Prince Phillip was being rushed to Papworth with 'severe chest pains'. Mindful of the Duke's age the media started to act as though preparing for the worst. No one has said the word but considering the treatment he had I suspect what really happened was a mild heart attack. The update later on said he'd had a stent inserted to unblock an artery, this is a routine op that has a very good success rate, however I doubt it is carried out on many ninety years olds and so concern was still high. I didn't know who to feel most sorry for, Prince Phillip because he must have been really poorly to be admitted to hospital. The Queen, who faces spending Christmas with a relative in hospital with a heart problem, I wouldn't wish that on anybody, or the hospital staff because I doubt Phillip is an easy patient.

On Christmas Eve I was at work so it was up to Peter and Andrew to collect the turkey from the local farmer and sort out all the last minute things such as finding the Christmas table cloth etc. Personally I think I had the best of the deal as I was constantly fed sweets, fruit and at one point a huge but delicious bacon and egg sandwich. I came home, with the sandwiches I'd made for lunch still wrapped, feeling rather bloated. Not surprisingly I didn't feel like much for tea.

The news on Prince Phillip was more reassuring but it was obvious that for the first time in several decades the Queen will not enjoy his company on Christmas Day. The press release talks in vague tones of 'keeping him in for a few days for observation'. To me this rings a few alarm bells, normally patients go home within twenty four hours of having the procedure, the really lucky ones get to go home the same day. The fact they are keeping him in, especially over Christmas could mean several things. They are either being over cautious because of who he is and his age. The initial attack was more serious than reported. He isn't responding as well as expected. I suspect we will never know the details but it sounds a bit suspicious to me.

Christmas day was quiet, a little too quiet to be honest. There was a big hole at the table where Laurence should have been but he was working and was much missed. He rang in the evening and his Christmas hasn't been all sweetness and light, he had to deal with a hanging and got involved in a couple of brawls. He sounded quite upbeat but is obviously looking forward to spending the New Year with us.

We tucked into turkey with all the trimmings and decided that this year instead of the heavy stodgy traditional Christmas pud to have a fruity cheesecake, a decision that turned out to be very popular. After coffee and a clear up, it was present time. Again we missed Laurence and the occasion felt a little flat. Everyone was really pleased with their gifts though, no more so than Andrew who fell in love with his notebook at first glance. He spent the rest of the day setting it up, he is removing windows and installing Linex, no I don't know why either, while Peter and I watched the TV.

Phillip is still in hospital but reportedly 'in good spirits' and tucking in to a turkey dinner. Well I suspect the first bit might be stretching the truth a bit, I don't know anyone who would be in good spirits if they were forced to spend Christmas Day in hospital. As for the second part, lets hope what is dumped in front of him doesn't give him another heart attack, hospital food is hospital food regardless of what day it is.

I didn't sleep well last night, I was suffering from 'eatingtomuchitus' and had chronic indigestion. Lunch today is going to be simple and light however the Quality Street, After Eight mints and assorted nuts are calling me from afar so tonight I will be taking a box of Rennie to bed with me just in case.

Something I must comment on while I remember is panic generated amongst women last week when it was revealed that some breast implants are faulty and are supposedly linked to cancer. The faulty implants are of the cheap PIP variety and have been found to be made from industrial silicon instead of medical silicon, I have no idea what the difference is. According to investigators in France one woman has already died and eight others have been diagnosed with cancer. First lets get this into proportion, nine women out of tens of thousands worldwide. That doesn't sound like a very high count to me.

Before I go on I must state that I am a firm believer in making do with what you've got and not fiddling with your body unnecessarily. My view is that breast implants are an excellent thing when used for what they were originally designed for which is reconstruction, anything else is just plain vanity and stupidity. I have never understood the need for bigger breasts, having been given more than my fair share especially as a young woman I hated them. I could never wear a sun dress or strappy top in the summer without a bra. Sport was uncomfortable at best and humiliating at worst as this was before the advent of sports bras so I bounced around all over the place. Even swimming was difficult as they got in the way, spilled out over the top of my costume and provided such drag that I had to work twice as hard as everyone else. And lets not even go in to what happened to them when I was pregnant.

Why would anyone willing want to put themselves through all that? Boob jobs don't even look nice, at best they resemble footballs glued to the chest and men confess that they much prefer the natural look regardless of size. So why spend all that money disfiguring yourself? Personally I feel if you were stupid enough to shove two plastic bags into your body then more fool you. Anything introduced into the body that is not supposed to be there is going to cause problems eventually, if you want the gain you're just going to have to put up with the pain.

And finally, Phillip is still in hospital, suspicious or what?

Shh... It's So Quiet.

Just when you are happy and settled something comes along to 'improve' things and you're back to square one. So it is with Blogger, which has updated itself and now has a totally new layout. Took me ages to work out how to post, couldn't find the button, oh hum.

I've been starting work early this week and this means driving to work in the dark, a very weird experience as my body keeps telling me it should be wrapped up tight in bed. At least I also finish early so I do at least see daylight. My colleagues on full time hours working 8am - 6pm don't see daylight for days on end as our room has no windows. Work has been quiet, much quieter than I expected on the run up to Christmas which is a bit unnerving, I can't help thinking something nasty is going to catch us out on Christmas Eve and have us all running around like headless chickens. Equally unnerving is the appearance of huge tins of chocolates that start doing the rounds as soon as we sit at our desks. I don't know about you but sweets that early in the morning just isn't right. I have to at least get my first cup of tea in before I can face anything like that.

I went to see Occupational Health today, I have to go every couple of months so they can keep an eye on me, and they were delighted with my improved health. At the moment I'm on reduced hours but they have relented and are allowing me to increase from six hours a day to, wait for it, seven hours a day after Christmas. Can I stand the excitement! In all seriousness I know I have to be careful and take things slowly. Rushing things will only mean not coping and ending up back where I started but it is so frustrating. Still I must look on the positive side and at least my hours are increasing so alls good.

Andrew took his driving theory test today and passed with flying colours, in fact he got 100% on one of them so he is really pleased with himself. His actual driving test will be sometime in February/March so plenty of time yet and he is making good progress. He also had a lesson today and said that he is still finding reversing a bit of a problem but he forgets that this is only his fifth lesson so the fact he can do it at all is impressive. Andrew has been very good about his revision these holidays and spends at least four hours each day pouring over his books. I've never seen him so focused. I really hope all the effort pays off and is reflected in his grades.

It is drug count day and we have been busy doing our inventory ready for the call that never comes due tomorrow. I'm a bit dubious about ringing in so close to Christmas, especially as they can't get it right even when it isn't Christmas. As I am in work I have told Peter to get the name of the person that calls, if they do, so we can at least pin the blame on somebody when something vital doesn't arrive in January.

My countdown to Christmas is almost finished and Peter is heading to Tesco's tomorrow before eight to do the last few bits, then all we have to do is collect the turkey from the farm on Saturday and we are done. If we have forgotten anything well it isn't a disaster and I won't fret about it. Peter's present finally arrived and I managed to wrap it and put it under the tree while he was out collecting Andrew from his theory test so that panic is also over.

In the news the military wives are busy outselling the X factory winners and are now a dead cert to be the Christmas number one. How refreshing to see that despite the promotion and hype the Great British public made the right choice for once. Even more refreshing is the government not charging VAT on the single so that more money can go to the charity it is supporting. The military wives might be a one hit wonder but how much good are they doing with that one hit and none of the choir members will profit by a penny. It is nice to know that there are people out there still for which money isn't everything.

The American's have finally left Iraq and within hours bombs are going off left, right and center. Whatever it was that the American's hoped to achieve they have clearly failed and have left behind an unstable country where different factions seem hellbent on killing each other come what may. Not a lot to show for ten years occupation is it.

John Terry is facing criminal charges for racially abusing a black footballer. However everyone is 'behind' him and he retains his captaincy. So who says football isn't racist? In any other job Terry would at the very least be under close supervision, in most he'd be suspended. The message being clearly sent out is that it is fine to be racist if you play football. As a lot of football supporters need very little encouragement to be vile to their fellow man this is not the signal they need. I don't know anything about Terry or the incident, he may well be a very nice chap and totally innocent I'm not to judge. However as a role model shouldn't he be offering to take a step back until things are resolved?

I am hoping to get time to write on Christmas Even but as things do tend to overtake me at times can I just take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas. I wish for you everything you'd wish for yourself. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Call Me!

Well Laurence did do his bungee jump and said that he would do it again. The only thing he complained about was how cold he was.

He arrived home early on Sunday afternoon looking more than a little tired. He and his mates had toured the pubs of Covent Garden until the early hours then had to be up again at seven for the jump. He was so shattered that he actually lay down on our bed and took a couple of hours nap. I baked a cake for tea which was a massive success, even if I do say so myself, and he left around six thirty looking a lot fresher and with a box of cake under his arm. All through tea he complained that he was getting too old for staying up all night. Old! He's only twenty three, youngsters today, they just have no stamina.

We are on edge today waiting for a phone call that will tell us that Andrew's Christmas present is in and ready for collection. We are getting him a net book, partly because I would like to have my laptop back and secondly because he will need one when he goes to uni. He has particular requirements and so finding a laptop with all of them hasn't been easy. We eventually tracked one down in a store in Luton and quickly put a reserve on it for pick up on Saturday. We arrived, gave our reservation number and paid while a shop assistant went into the back to collect our purchase. As he handed the box over we noticed that the seal had been breached. Further investigation showed the machine covered in fingerprints and with all the bubble wrap torn off. Even the paperwork was missing. Naturally we objected to this and fair do's to the assistant and the section head they agreed that what we had was the display item and not the brand new one we'd been promised. Unfortunately that was the only one left in the shop, a quick ring around found four in Richmond, one of which is now supposed to be winging it's way to Luton for us to collect sometime this afternoon. I pray there are no more hiccups or we could have one very disappointed baby come Christmas day.

Yesterday it snowed today it is grey and raining. Somehow the world looks better when under cover of the white stuff, outside today is just dark and wet and miserable and the worst thing, it is set to stay like that right up to Christmas.

In the news the big story of the day is the death of North Korea's 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-Il. Reports say he died on Saturday of a heart attack while traveling by train. Not much is known about him being a secretive and protective country. Even less is known about his successor, son Kim Jong-Un. As the country has nuclear weapons and an army of five million lets hope that just like his father the new leader is more interested in rattling the west than attacking it. What got me were the scenes of grief, from the distraught newsreader to the ordinary person on the street. Either he was a much better leader than we were lead to believe or the common people are trying to keep in with the new boy. The last time I saw anything quite as bad as that was when Princess Diana died.

Someone who's passing will not be marked by any show of public grief is that of The Black Panther Donald Neilson. This man shot three sub postmasters and kidnapped and murdered teenager Leslie Whittle during a violent spree in 1974/75. Peter Sutcliffe, The Yorkshire Ripper was also on the loose around this time and I used to watch the news in a state of absolute terror. Thankfully both were caught and both locked up for life in a time when it actually meant life.

Ofcom is to investigate Jeremy Clarkson's comments on the strikers. Oh my God! Haven't they got anything better to do with their time? Seriously what has happened to people's sense of humour? Will there be an investigation into the money Ofcom are going to waste doing this pointless investigation?

I hate waiting in for phone calls, especially ones that never come. I won't start panicking yet though, Wednesday, that is when I'll start panicking.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

As I write this the snow is falling thick and fast outside my window, such a pity it is a week early.

Yesterday I did a stupid thing and braved Tesco's. I knew I shouldn't have but we'd run out of some essentials so really had no choice. It was mega packed. We were lucky enough to find a parking space, the joys of having a disabled badge, but once inside the shop we all but turned around and walked out again. Not only was the place so full I had difficulty getting near the shelves but the staff had chosen to park great big wire cages everywhere making getting around even more frustrating. I even witnessed two women having a heated discussion over a frozen turkey. Why do people go so silly over Christmas, especially this early? It is not like it was when I was young and the shops sometimes shut for up to a week, or had very limited opening times. Most shops are still open late on Christmas eve and then open as normal on Boxing day so why the panic? The trolleys were stacked so high they could hardly be moved and things were still being added and I have no doubt these same people will be back in next Saturday doing the same thing again. I felt quite under done coming out with just my usual weekly shop with a few nuts added. Don't get me wrong, I have done the 'must buy every treat going' shop in my time but soon came to realise that we either ended up throwing things away or were still eating them at Easter. What is the point? We will have a good Christmas meal and be able to slump in front of the TV and nibble on chocolates, cheese, nuts, fruit and biscuits to our hearts content but by the second of January everything will be gone and we will return to normal. And we will all breath a sigh of relief.

So Harry won Strictly, I'm not surprised as he's been the favourite since day one. I can't help feeling a little disappointed that Jason didn't at least make it into the final two though. I was less than inspired by 'pocket rocket' Chelsee's show dance and although her jive was good it wasn't a patch on Jason's Tango. Even so it was a very good series this year and you were kept guessing right to the last gasp which is how it should be. All to often in these things a clear winner emerges half way through and it loses it's sparkle. My only gripe is what to do with my Saturday evenings now that it is all over. Luckily for me Dancing On Ice starts in the new year, problem solved.

Another Christmas and another natural disaster hits somewhere in the world. This time it is flash flooding in the Philippines. Why do these things always seem to happen at this time of year, or is it just that for some reason you notice them more? I clearly remember watching the news on Boxing day 2004 the day a Tsunami hit Indonesia. It was the first time I can remember a big natural disaster during the festive season, I'm sure there were many before, I just didn't notice them. Since then there seems to have been one every year, how strange.

Laurence is doing a bungee jump off the O2 building this morning, for fun. I can think of other ways of having fun on a cold snowy morning in December, most involve snuggling up with a good DVD and a hot chocolate but each to their own. Will he actually go through with it? Probably as he won't want to lose face in front of his mates but I bet he never does it again. This afternoon he is coming to have tea with us. No doubt we'll get the whole tale then.

Having been woken up at six thirty this morning by Andrew going out to do his paper round I've managed to change all the beds, get the laundry done and have a long soak in the bath, all by eleven. I'm now at a loose end. I have presents to wrap for Peter but as it is snowing and he's got my cold he is reluctant to go out into his man shed or fiddle with his car so getting a quiet moment is going to be tricky. I might just have to resort to telling him what I'm doing and lock myself away for half an hour. After that it's a little bit of baking and then a sit down to watch the re-run of the Strictly final. I always record the final so I can watch the show dances again, beside what else am I going to do with myself on a snowy Sunday?

Friday, 16 December 2011

It Snowed Last Night Everything Is Sparkling With Diamond Light

I am completely gob smacked!

Had a check up at the Brompton today during which I had an ECHO and an ECG and some blood tests. I've been feeling rough this last week with a cold and a chest infection so was not expecting great results. If anything I was expecting things to come back rather worse than usual. After having the tests I sat waiting to see my consultant and bracing myself for the results. My consultant was all grins when I entered the room and announced that he had some really good news for me. First he showed my some of the film from my ECHO and explained that there had been a significant change in my heart, for the better! The right side of my heart has been huge but today's ECHO shows that the right ventricle has actually shrunk in size and is now almost the same size as my left ventricle (the right is smaller than the left in healthy people). Worryingly he has no idea how this has happened but is cock-a-hoop that it has. He also helpfully pointed out a small wriggly thing flapping away in a corner, "that's your catheter", eww I'd rather have not known. The second bit of good news was that my BNP reading is right down and is now a comfortable 5. The BNP is a chemical produced by the heart when under stress. Healthy people have readings between 1 and 4 so a 5 for me is brilliant especially as most PH patients have readings around the 50 mark. For me this is an amazing result given that before I went on the Flolan treatment my readings were off the scale at 215. And finally I got my SAT's results (the amount of oxygen in the blood) and that was an amazing 91%. I'm usually around 84%, healthy people are between 100% and 97%. To say I came out reeling in shock would be an understatement. A couple of months ago things were looking quite bleak, there had been improvement but not as much as hoped. Now it all seems to have happened at once. Might just stop moaning about having to carry the damned pump around with me, it is obviously working. There was a little bit of bad news though and that is that I'm still losing weight but not so fast. Maybe that will also improve with time and with Christmas eating to look forward too maybe sooner than I hoped.

Woke up to a white world this morning and it was still snowing heavily when we left for the drive into London. I dug out my thermals for the first time since last year and layered myself up as I really feel the cold. The drive in was horrible until we hit the M25 turn off and then the snow just magically disappeared. By the time we reached the Brompton it was dry and the sun was trying to come out. Had a bit of excitement on the way. We usually drive through the embassy area of London to get to the hospital as it is quicker but today the approach road was blocked and there were police cars everywhere and more piling into the area with lights and sirens going. No idea what was going on but it meant a long detour but we still arrived on time. Driving back we had bright sunshine and by the time we arrived home the snow had all but gone, just a few patches in the fields. The forecast says we are going to get a further four inches over the weekend. Now I'm safely at home it can do what it wants. I love the snow as long as I don't have to travel in it.

My cold has improved and I'm feeling more human again. I've got rid of the headache though my eyes are still sore and my sinuses ache. My throat has calmed down and of course my chest has stopped aching and my breathing has improved. with a bit of luck I'll be completely clear by Christmas itself.

Andrew broke up from school for Christmas today. He can't relax though as the first part of his A level exams are at the end of January. He has had a bit of a moan about all the revision he has to do over the holidays. I am amazed at how short sighted teenagers are these days. He wants to go to UNI and has just sent off his UCAS forms. He knows that to get a place he has to get his predicted grades or better and to get better he has to work for it and yet it is all such an inconvenience. Don't get me wrong, Andrew will knuckle down and do the work, he has a goal and once he's got a goal he is very focused. However he'll make sure I know he's doing it by moaning about it, a lot. Part of the problem is the amount of distraction there is these days. When I was studying for my A levels we didn't have things such as facebook, gaming or instant messaging so it was easier to shut off for a couple of hours. I will put up with the moaning and offer gentle encouragement and hope for the best.

Laurence will be calling around briefly tomorrow he is spending the night with friends in London so will be leaving his car at ours. He has promised to come to tea on Sunday so I will be baking again. I'm going to stick to the tried and true though and will be making my chocolate fudge cake, the one confection that I always manage to get right.

Tomorrow is the great wrap. I'm commandeering the dining room, putting an old film on the TV and with the aid of some mince pies and a couple of Baileys will create the perfect parcels. Well that's the plan and we all know what tends to happen to them.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wide Eyed And Breathless

Wouldn't you know it, I've caught the bug that's been doing the rounds at work. Most of my colleagues have managed to work through it and report symptoms such as sore throats, headache, blocked nose and a cough. I of course have to go one better and also have a burning, sore chest. So it is off to the doctors again. I can't tell you how pissed of I am with it all. I seem to have had one infection after another this year with only a week or two of respite in between. I tell you this transplant cannot come soon enough, though I will still be at risk of infection, maybe even more so. You're dammed if you do and dammed if you don't really but at least with a transplant if you are well you are really well and that will count for a lot. My GP confirmed that I had yet another infection and prescribed antibiotic, steroids and plenty of rest. I must admit I felt pretty rough this afternoon so I think I made the right call in going.

I finally managed to order Peter's Christmas presents today. They are guaranteed delivery in five days so plenty of time thank goodness. I've ordered three smaller things rather than one big thing this year. They are all things he's asked for so he should be happy.

Put up the Christmas tree and decorations today. Peter thought it was time we got into the Christmas spirit. I must say it is nice to see the hall and living room festooned in tinsel and lights. Maybe it will do the trick and I'll get in the mood soon, one can hope.

The weather is looking pretty grim at the moment, it was so cold this afternoon that I turned the heating on early. It could have been due to my cold but Peter also felt chilly. That is the first time we've had to do that and it looks like we'll be doing it a lot more over the next few days. There is a storm pushing in from the west and due to arrive in my area late on Thursday. At the moment they are not sure exactly which path it is likely to take. It will either pass to the south of us meaning we get less wind but will have snow instead, or it will pass over us giving seventy mile per hour winds. Some choice. Personally I'd prefer the wind to the snow as I've got to go to the Brompton on Friday and don't want to have to dig my way out.

In the news some of the details for the celebrations of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee have been released, no disrespect intended but how are we affording these celebrations? We are already paying through the nose for the Olympics and now we've got all this too. I like having a Royal family and do not mind part of my tax paying for the day to day mundane upkeep, after all they only cost each one of us pennies, but two big events in one year is going some. Of course it is not the Queen's fault that her Jubilee falls in the same year we get the Olympics. If I had a choice and had to pick one event to attend I would always pick the Jubilee as I feel the Queen has done more for the country than the Olympics ever will. And the Queen's celebrations hasn't interfered with my summer holiday the was the Olympics have.

Also in the news and all over You Tube is the foul mouthed student getting thrown off a train. It seems he now wants the bloke that stepped in to throw him off charged with assault. Poor little muffin it must have been so traumatic for him. What this pea brain fails to realise is that if he had the correct ticket, wasn't steaming drunk, didn't have a potty mouth and hadn't held hundreds of commuters up he wouldn't have been thrown off. Indeed if he'd just admitted his mistake and been polite he'd probably ended up with a small fine and made it to his destination unscathed. That's the trouble with most kids these days, the world owes them a living and nothing is ever their fault. Personally I hope the little git gets prosecuted by the rail company for not having a ticket, holding up the train, verbal assault and wasting everyone's time. Unfortunately it is more likely the man who stepped in will end up in court ensuring he and others like him will never step in to help again and putting another nail in the coffin of the fight against the yob culture. It makes you want to weep.

The fight for the Christmas number one is on and in the blue corner we have the choir made up of soldiers wives and in the red corner the X Factor winners. Now it has been a very long time since we had a decent Christmas number one, mostly because of the X Factor, so wouldn't it be nice if a choir singing Christmas songs triumphed over four floozies who can barely hold a tune. This year I think it might well be possible, at least I hope so.

Monday, 12 December 2011


Rang my supplier this morning and found to my horror that the gloves were not sent out on Friday as had been promised. They were still sitting in the warehouse and they would get them to me 'in a day or two'. After a brief discussion where the words 'if I get an infection because I've had to prepared and administer my drug with bare hands guess who I'll be suing' were used, I've been told to expect deliver sometime after three this afternoon. Whether they turn up is anyone's guess but they really won't want me to phone them again tomorrow.

Witnessed the chav across the street reverse into a wheelie bin this morning, knocking it over and spreading it's contents along the street. Did he stop to clear up the mess? Well at first I thought he was as he turned around and drove back to the spot, however he just looked at his handy work before speeding off mobile firmly clamped to his ear. Little git!

Had my eyes tested today at Costco and nearly fainted when the assistant told me the cost would be £299.99. For a pair of glasses! You have got to be joking! As they were advertising glasses from £99 I was at a loss as to why mine would cost so much. I was told that it was a very good price and they would cost me £600 anywhere else, yes but why? Apparently my prescription with the type of glass they use pushes the price up. So give me a different type of glass was my response. They only do one type was their reply while emphasising what a good deal it was. So I've come away without my glasses but with my prescription which I'm going to take to Specsavers to see what price they come up with. If Costco is the cheapest, which I very much doubt, then I will have to swallow the cost but it will have to wait until after Christmas, way after.

So the Strictly final will be between Jason, Harry and Chelsee, just as I'd hoped. I really want Jason to win as I think it would mean more to him than the other two and he seems to have worked harder for it. I suspect though that the winner will be Harry as he has been the favourite all along despite not yet scoring a perfect forty.

The X Factor has finally limped to close and was won by the girl group, the first time a group has won since the show started. Despite all the hype the show still came in second in the ratings to Strictly and I suspect all involved have breathed a huge sigh of relief that it is all over. Will the X Factor run again next year? They say it will but they are going to have to do something pretty drastic to stop it sinking even further in the ratings. Even if Simon Cowell does return as a judge, as is rumoured, he is going to have his work cut out and then some.

Another of my favourite show ends tonight, The Young Apprentice on BBC1. Although I haven't warmed to any of the candidates, and my most disliked are in the final two, the series has been hugely entertaining. I don't care who actually wins but will be watching as the last episode is when they bring back all the sacked candidates to help. Well I say help, what I really mean is hinder and the bitching that goes on tends to make it very watchable.

All these reality/talent shows ending means Christmas really is just around the corner now and I've still got so much to do. I haven't even sent my Christmas cards out yet. I'm going to have to get a move on.

My gloves arrived not long after three so I can now breath a sigh of relief and relax. Back to work tomorrow, can't remember when I last had such a stressful weekend.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Oh Danny Boy

Very sad to find out yesterday that Dan Male of Joey Pouch fame passed away earlier this week after a long battle with PH. Like me he'd been waiting on a transplant but sadly for him it never came as he was told earlier this year that he was too poorly for transplant. I cannot imagine how he must have felt being told that. Dan was diagnosed with PH ten years ago at the age of twenty. What an awful thing for a young man to have to deal with when he should have been out clubbing, having girlfriends, starting a career, but Dan took it on the chin and dedicated himself to helping others struggling with diagnoses. He also had to wear a pump and was a God send to those of us finding it a bit difficult to cope with. He answered all questions honestly, there was no sugar coating, if it was going to hurt he'd tell you it would hurt. I only contacted him once, when starting on the pump, mostly for reassurance. I got it and seeing in his video's how he got around and about encouraged me that I was doing the right thing. God bless Dan, I hope you are breathing easier now wherever you are. If you want to learn more about Dan and his life with PH click on the Joey Pouch link on the right hand side of this page, you may have to scroll down a bit to find it.

Surprise, surprise my sterile gloves did not arrive by post on Saturday as I was promised they would. Luckily I found a few pairs hiding at the back of the cupboard where they must have fallen out of the box. I've got just enough to last me until Monday otherwise I'd be trawling the hospitals trying to beg, borrow or buy some. How bad is that? What if I were house bound, I'd be forced to risk infection by preparing my drugs and lines with bare hands for two days. These people really need a kick up the backside and by God on Monday, when their phone lines re-open, they are going to get one. They'll wish they'd never got out of bed. Don't they realise that seriously ill people rely on them getting it right? Disgraceful!

My latest attempt at baking went seriously awry yesterday. I made rock cakes which turned out resembling, well, rocks. I've had a run of successes so I suppose I was due a disaster but this was quite epic. I really don't know what I do. Give me something savoury to make and I'm a wiz, give me something that is suppose to be light and fluffy and sweet and I go to pieces. Never give up, I've got fairy cakes earmarked for next week.

Strictly was a joy this week and it is very hard to chose a winner at the moment. Chelsee and Jason both scored a perfect forty while Harry was a close second with thirty nine. Try as I might I still cannot warm to Chelsee and am rather hoping the impossible that she doesn't go through to the final. She will of course, along with Harry and, hopefully, Jason. Alex unfortunately does not have a chance and Holly although improved is still far to 'relaxed'. I hated her Charleston.

In X Factor there are howls of horror as the latest 'dead cert' has been voted out of the competition. As I said before I don't watch but you can hardly miss the result as it is plastered all over the Internet and in most of the Sunday papers. Apparently after the favourite was booted out last week the pink haired one had been tipped to win and shock waves are reverberating around media land at her departure. The final is tonight and the choice is now between a young Liverpudlian lad and a girl group who changed their name mid competition. Whoever wins really doesn't matter as they will disappear from sight only to emerge this time next year with an album to plug when everyone has forgotten who they are. If they are really unlucky they will be catapulted into obscurity and stay there. Sometimes it is better not to win and those that have come second or third have a knack of being much more successful than the winner. Sometimes coming first is not all it is cracked up to be.

Now I do not tend to discuss politics or religion in this blog but I couldn't really let the week pass without saying something on the biggest story to come out of the EU in years. So a British Prime Minister finally found a backbone and said no to handing over more control to Brussels. About bloody time! I do not even pretend to fully understand the ins and outs of what has gone on, my brain tends to switch off the moment the words 'EU' and 'summit' are mentioned in the same sentence, so I'm in no position to comment on the possible consequences. What I will say is that we have given so much to the EU and have, as far as I can see, had very little back.  The papers say the French and Germans are stunned by the British stance, I'm not surprised, they have got used to walking all over us and cannot cope with sudden rebellion. Does this mean the break away of Britian from the EU? Who knows but would it be a bad things if it did? One things for sure Britain will not be taken so much for granted in the future and that is a good thing.

Off for an eye test tomorrow, unlike my dental appointment I am not expecting to walk away with no change to my prescription. At the very least I'm going to need reading glasses as I cannot read small print with my contacts in and cannot see well enough to drive with my glasses on. My guess is that my contacts will stay the same and I'll need new glasses, probably bi focals. I hope they have the smelling salts handy when they present me with the bill.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Rumour Has It.

Had a complete shocker this morning. After weeks of eating like a pig I was convinced that I must have put some weight on at last. With great excitement I got the scales out and stepped on, I've lost another three pounds and now weigh less than seven stone, how is that possible? I'm really worried about my weight, none of my clothes fit me properly anymore but I'm reluctant to go out and buy more in case I do reverse the trend. I'm off to the hospital for my regular clinic next Friday so I'll discuss the situation with them, maybe they can come up with some ideas to stop me fading away. On the brighter side, I will be able to completely pig out this Christmas without worrying, for every cloud etc, etc.

Yesterday at work was trying. We have the decorators in and they divided the room in two with a plastic sheet so they could paint, lay carpet and do what they had to do. Unfortunately this meant that for fourteen people there were only eight desks. My unfortunate colleagues arriving later in the day found themselves parked in whichever department had room. Those of us left in the room had to battle to hear telephone conversations over the banging and crashing. They are doing the other side of the room today but fortunately I'm off so by the time I turn up next week everything will be looking fresh and clean and I'll have missed most of the aggravation.

Rumours have been rife for sometime but yesterday I all but had them confirmed. From April we are having new shift changes imposed on us. This has caused a great deal of upset, stress and anger not to mention a total demoralisation of everyone. The rumour that things would not be ready in time for the April changeover started a couple of weeks ago. Now it seems some of my colleagues have been told that there will be a delay and an e mail will be going out soon to explain the delay and post a new time frame. Again I suppose this could just be another rumour, everyone is so jumpy and snippet of information is jumped on, but the people I talked to sound pretty sure. One colleague even went as far as to state that the delay will be as late as November. Only time will tell, and an e mail, if any of this is true. I just wish that everyone was told these things all at the same time instead of things being leaked to the chosen few.

Andrew has had another driving lesson and this time he attempted reversing and an emergency stop. He is really enjoying himself and is full of confidence. The instructor seems very impressed too and has predicted that he could be ready for his test in as little as twenty lessons, the average is thirty apparently. I hope the instructor is right as it is costing me a fortune. Of course if when he does pass we then have the expensive of an old banger and insurance. It seem ridiculous to me that his insurance will cost more than his car.

Another delivery by my drug supplier and another balls up. This time they have failed to deliver sterilised gloves and the cassettes the drug is held in when attached to the pump. I rang them and the girl couldn't have sounded less interested. apparently they don't have any in stock at the moment so they will be sent out at a later date. Fine except I only have three packets of gloves left for the weekend, I use three a day. She is rushing out a box by registered mail to arrive tomorrow. Needless to say i'm not entirely happy abput this as we all know what the post is like especially around Christmas. I can see me touring the local hospitals tomorrow afternoon begging. Thankfully I still have enough cassettes to last for another two weeks. I've e mail my specialist nurse about the situation. I doubt very much he can do anything but as the hospital has give the contract to this useless lot then they ought to know the kind of service I'm (not) getting.

Last night I gave in and bought a few bits and pieces for Christmas, I've already ordered my turkey so set about getting the gravy and cranberry sauce. I will be making my own sage and onion stuffing as I have a huge amount of sage growing in the herb garden. I also bought a tin of Quality Street, well I have my priorities. We are avoiding the shopping centers this weekend, we tend to do all our shopping online anyway, but will brave Milton Keynes on Monday as I have and eye test and want to do some window shopping. All I've got to do now is decide whether I will be needing the services of a scooter or not.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Winner Takes It All

What a busy few days!


The build up to Christmas has begun even in my house as today I ordered my turkey from the local farmer. There will only be three of us for Christmas lunch as Laurence is working on all three holiday days so we are going to have a lot of meat left over. It's a good job that I'm crazy about turkey and Branston sandwiches.


Had our six month dental check ups today and was pleased to find I didn't need anything done. This is a huge relief as last time I went I ended up having a root canal and a crown fitted, hideous.


Spent the day cleaning up in preparation for Laurence's visit tomorrow, don't know why, he knows what the house is usually like. Still it was good to get things looking nice and clean and tidy. I'm on a bit of a cleaning frenzy at the moment, goodness knows why. Peter's been looking at me in a worried way and asking if I'm 'nesting'. I think it is just that I feel so well and have so much energy at the moment that I'm making the most of it. I'm pretty sure it won't last.


The big day arrived and we all had a lovely time. I cooked Cannelloni as I know Laurence loves it and we had a good long chat. The funniest thing was the way Smirnoff reacted. Laurence has always been Smirnoff's favourite, he is the only person who's lap he will sit on and he spent all his time in Laurence's room. Obviously he has not taken the desertion well. He refused to even look at Laurence and in the end had to be bribed with a bowl of milk to even get a purr out of him. Animals are so funny. Goodness knows how he will react when Laurence turns up again in the new year. When Laurence left I felt my first pang of sadness, the house suddenly seemed so empty. I know he is not far away but I miss having him around.


Back to work today and by God it was a cold one. It had rained overnight and then froze so my car was embedded in an ice cube. It took ages to scrape it all off. Had a complete disaster in the shower when the film I use to cover my dressing peeled off and my dressing got soaked. I change my dressing twice a week and hadn't planned to do so this morning so hadn't allowed extra time. I couldn't leave it as I risked infection so I had to do the change very quickly and didn't place the plaster properly so it pulled on my skin all day making me sore. The combination of the dressing disaster and the ice made for one very grumpy Hazel arriving almost late for work.


First thing this morning, after my shower, I replaced my dressing and feel much more comfortable. It is Peter's birthday today so I rushed home to plan a special birthday tea. He got lots of cards and I bought him a gadget that he's been hinting at for ages so he's got something to play with. I've no idea what it does or what it's for but he absolutely loves it and that is all that matters.

I was outraged to hear that the PM is doubling the budget for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. This is the same PM who's said we must pay more for less because the country is practically bankrupt. I could not believe it when I heard that. Wouldn't the money be better spent on health, education or even sports facilities to encourage future medal winners. The more I hear about these games the more I'm beginning to hate them. What a waste of money.

I'm A Celeb is finally over and with a surprise winner. I must admit I was disappointed Fatima didn't win. I found her far more entertaining than Mark and Dougie who seem a little bit wishy washy. Still I suppose Fatima didn't have an army of teenage girls as a fan base.

And talking of teenage fan bases Dougie's band mate Harry is still the favourite to win Strictly though the others are catching him fast. Chelsee has made a surprising late run and was absolutely brilliant on Saturday with her jive, she still annoys the hell out of me though. My favourite Jason seems to have faded a bit of late although his Gene Kelly number was wonderful. Robbie Savage was the big loser of the weekend and most are blaming Ola, who for once was completely covered from the neck down. All joking aside he was the worst dancer and it was his time to go. At the moment it is still anyone's game though and who goes through now rests on the dance as much as on the ability. Let's hope Jason gets a couple of show stoppers and doesn't cock it up this time.

Misha B left the X Factor and is blaming rumours of her bullying behaviour for her slip in popularity. Only having seen brief snippets of the X Factor I can only say that what I did see of her did not impress. She had a good voice but was not at all likable. I have no idea if the rumours are true but her leaving proves that singing talent has very little to do with the competition. No doubt there will be people muttering 'fix' right to the end.

Right time for this birthday tea.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Strike? What Strike?

Yesterday the whole country was supposed to grind to a halt in an effort to get the government to change its mind about pensions. Instead the whole country appeared to go shopping and as far as I could tell things actually worked better. There were no twelve hour queues at airports, no mass riots in the streets and for me a quieter day at work than normal because instead of being short staffed, as we usually are, they'd drafted in so much cover we were actually fully staffed for once.

I'm not a striker, I don't think it achieves anything and in the kind of job I'm in I don't feel it is right to abandon my post when someone might need my help. However I do understand why others feel the need to take action but if you are going to take action then make it count. Going shopping instead of manning a picket line only makes those you have inconvenienced less sympathetic to your cause.

The last couple of days have been busy in a weird sort of way. I don't seemed to have done much but am constantly running out of time. Part of the problem is that I keep thinking I'm one day ahead. I spent yesterday firmly convinced it was Thursday. I have no idea why my brain is doing this but it is very disconcerting. Maybe I'm subconsciously wishing Sunday would get here quicker as that's when Laurence is coming around for lunch, well that's the only reasonable explanation I've been able to come up with.

There was a flurry of excitement in the close today when workmen turned up and hacked down the old concrete lamp post that stands outside my house. We have long thought that a lamp post there, just outside our bedroom window, is a bit of a pain and hoped that we'd finally got rid of it. I know we've put up with it for twenty years but there are still times when it bothers me, usually if I wake up in the middle of the night . We have thick curtains and pull them carefully to eliminate any gaps but somehow light still gets through. Unfortunately our delight was short lived when it was replaced by a steel monstrosity that is completely out of character with the surroundings. At the time of writing I'm waiting to see what it looks like when it is on. Peter went out and chatted to the workmen and found out it was one of those energy saving lamps that can be dimmed when less light is needed. There's some hope in that then, we now at least have a chance of the lamp being dimmed overnight, but I'm not holding my breath.

In the news Jeremy Clarkson has got himself in a whole heap of trouble by stating that he thought strikers should be shot. Regular watchers of Top Gear and readers of Clarkson's columns in various newspapers should know exactly what to expect by now and I'd be amazed if any of them were particularly shocked by what he said. Jeremy Clarkson says things to shock, that's what he does, that's partially what he is famous for and his usual audience accept this as part of his 'brand'. Unfortunately for him he was not performing for his usual audience when he appeared on the One Show last night and has offended a large amount of people who are not familiar with his abrasive style. Personally I think the outrage shown by the Unions is misdirected. I watched the One Show last night and found his comments about suicides far more offensive than anything he said about the strikers. However this has been completely overlooked and the whole thing hijacked by union leaders still smarting from their failure to bring the country to it's knees. I'm not a fan of Jeremy Clarkson, I find him boorish, rude and far too full of himself but in fairness to him he was asked for his opinion. As a watcher of Top Gear I had a fair idea of what his reaction was likely to be and if I knew then so must the BBC who employ him. And as the BBC must have known what he was like then the only conclusion I can come to is that they were looking for controversy, maybe not as much as they got, but some. I don't think Jeremy Clarkson should be sacked for his comments about strikers, I think he should be reprimanded and made to apologise about the things he said about suicides certainly and the unions should concentrate on the important things, the things they were striking about in the first plac, than waste their energies on a fifty something man who still thinks he's at school.

 I'm a Celeb is coming to an end and I'm already feeling bereft. On Sunday it will all be over for another year and the countdown to Christmas TV will begin in earnest. Being the first of December a lot of people I know are already putting up Christmas decorations, how depressing. When I was younger, the decorations went up on the last day of the school term giving us something to look forward too and making the two weeks we had off a truly magical time of year. These days Christmas starts in the shops before the summer holidays finish and by Halloween the shops are selling everything from mince pies to Christmas crackers and as a result the magic is almost non existent. In fact quite often I'm so fed up of Christmas by Christmas that I really struggle to feel festive. In our house we still refuse to put the decorations up until the end of school term and I've already been asked by a caller to the door why my tree isn't up yet, grrrrrr! The only thing I've done so far is order our turkey from the local farmer and make a list of what I've got to get.

Dentist tomorrow, oh joy.