Thursday, 31 May 2012

Out Of My Hands

I did it! After having the panic attack from hell early in the morning I became unusually calm, for me, and was able to have the procedure without being knocked out or indeed having any sedation. This time I asked for and was allowed my music and not hearing what they were doing helped enormously. I even plucked up enough courage to take a look at the screens and saw my arteries suddenly appear as dye was pushed through them.

Afterwards I had to lie flat for four hours but was allowed to eat and drink. Drinking wasn't a problen thanks to a straw but eating a cheese sandwich ended up with the sheets getting more of it than I did. Grated cheese was everywhere, in my hair, all over the pillow and even on the floor. After two hours I was allowed to sit up a little bit and the pressure dressing on my leg began to throb.

My release came and after the pressure dressing was removed, a relief in itself, I was allowed to dress and then walked around the ward with a nurse in tow just in case I 'had a turn'. A quick check of the wounds revealed no bleeding or swelling so I was allowed to go down stairs and buy some biscuits as I was still hungry. Supper tonight is 'luxury' mousakka and I really don't care what it tastes like I will devour it in seconds.

So now things are completely out of my hands. I've been told that my pressures are 70, normal pressures are 20-25 so they are quite high. The good news is that my coronary arteries are 'perfect' and so clear they could belong to someone half my age. The repair I had done as a child couldn't be found so they concluded that my body has grown over it sealing it permanently. My right side is performing well considering the strain it is under and my left side is unchanged. All this is good news and none of the findings should stop me having a transplant.

So now it is back to the waiting game. There is a big 'multi disciplinary' meeting tomorrow morning where my case will be discussed, whether that includes Harefield doctors I don't know. If it does I could find out if I'm on the list tomorrow. If it doesn't then I know Harefield have their meeting on a Thursday so I'll probably know next week. Whatever happens, one way or another I'll be told by the end of the month. I just hope it is a yes and all the aggrivation was worth it.

In the news I'm dismayed to hear that the parents of the six children who died in Derby have been charged. In all honesty I cannot say I'm surprised as all too often in cases like this it is a close relative that has done the deed. How they will ever be able to live with themseves I don't know. Why they did it will eventually come out but I'm still betting an attempt to force the council into giving them larger accommodation will be the cause. One thing is for sure the remaining children will end up in care, how sad.

I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight, I think i deserve it.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Coiled Spring

Well all in all it has been a busy day. First up an ECHO swiftly followed by an x ray and blood tests. Then there was an endless parade of doctor's who all looked at me as though they have never seen a person with PH before, which is worrying considering I'm on a PH ward.

Last night was a bit fraught. Just as I was settling down with my music player for a bit of a chill a young nurse rocked up and started fussing, I hate being fussed over but she was like a gnat that you wave away only for it to return later. We had a couple of minor tussles when she first announced she was going to change my dressing before changing her mind and deciding to change my line and my dressing so everything is fresh for the RHC. I virtually had to fight her off. Once I'd explained very carefully that my line is permanent and I do all my own wound care she backed off and disappeared. Ten minutes later she was back trying to give me a large dose of warfarin as my INR readings were low. I explained very carefully that I'd been told to stop warfarin on Sunday in prepration for my RHC on Thursday. She wouldn't take my word for it and called for back up in the form of the duty registrar. I prepared for battle until I saw that the registrar was the very same doctor who had confirmed with me earlier that day that I had stopped the treatment. I didn't see the nurse again and it was a different nurse who turned up to do my final checks of the night.

After all the tests I finally got fed up of being exhibit number one so after lunch, lasagne which was delicious by the way, I took my book and wandered over to the park and sat on a sunny bench for a couple of hours. I could almost fool myself into thinking I was in my own back garden, it was so relaxing. It wasn't to last though and big black clouds started to roll in accompanied by a pretty cutting wind. Soon it was too cold and windy to stay in the park so I reluctantly made my way back to the ward to find one of my consultants waiting to see me.

After much discussion and weighing up of the risks they still cannot give me a general BUT they can heavily sedate me to the point of unconciousness and for everyone's sake and piece of mind that is what they are going to do. He said the stress of trying to do it while I was still awake might be so great as to affect the test so it would be better if I were as relaxed as possible. I feel a bit better knowing that I am probably not going to know a thing about it so my nerves are not as shattered as they were first thing this morning.

The rest of the day has been pretty boring as most hospital stays are. The clouds have cleared a bit so I may well venture back over to the park again later as I feel more relaxed there than on the ward. Tonight I'm going to make good use of BBC's iPlayer to watch The Apprentice and catch up on Eastenders.

I'm nil by mouth from midnight so I'm off the shop to buy a little late night feast so I can snack while watching my favourite programmes. If that doesn't take my mind off things, nothing will. Just think next time I blog it will all be over, unless they cancel that is.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Relax, Don't Do It

Well the big day is here and as yet it seems all systems are go. No phone calls, no last minute cancellations. However I won't believe I'm actually going to have the RHC until I'm on the table, I've been here far too many times before. I will be setting off after an early lunch as I'm not booked in until three this afternoon. Why they have to bring me in on Tuesday when I'm not being done until Thursday is a complete mystery.

The weather has reverted to it's normal gloomy self today with it being very overcast and significantly cooler. I don't mind though, I hate traveling into London when it is boiling and being on a hot stuffy ward with windows that only open an inch is no fun either.

The drive into London was horrendous as it seems preparations for the jubilee weekend are in full flow  already so I was late arriving. As soon as I got up to the ward I was whisked into a side room with a fabulous view and given a cup of tea. After all the usual admin one of the consultants rocked up and was very open with me. He told me that the only reason I need the tests is to help the transplant team decide how to deal with me during and immidiately after transplant. He reassured me that from the conversation he'd had with the transplant team I was a good candidate for transplant. Excellent news. We then discussed the possibility of me trying a new drug due out later this year. He's going to get me some info on it to help me decide. If it works I might be able to get rid of the line. That would be brilliant.

Shortly after the consultant arrived so did Carl. He said that if I wanted to I could go across to the park opposite the hospital and sit and enjoy the nice weather, this is a bit of a change, usually I'm not allowed out. I suspect operation 'keep Hazel as relaxed as possible' is in full swing. I didn't even have the usual tussle with the nurses about wanting to lock my meds away as I usually do. After seeing Peter off I went and sat on a bench in the courtyard and read quietly enjoying a sudden burst of sunshine. It wasn't long before thick clouds began rolling in and the air became still and stormy. I beat a retreat back up to the ward where I was presented with a little pot and told to do my thing, nice. After that I've been more or less left to my own devices, hence the blog. I suspect tomorrow will be busy though as I've several tests lined up starting with an ECHO at ten. If the weather is nice I might well get away from it all and sit in the park for a while, just for some quiet time on my own.

In the news the parents of the six children killed in a house fire in Derby have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Well that's a turn up for the books. I really felt sorry for them, especially for him but it seems they may not be the innocent victims they've tried to portray themselves as. It has been revealed that the parents have been trying to force the council into giving them a bigger house for quite sometime and had just had their request turned down again. Now I believe in innocent until proved guilty but to me this seems a bit suspicious. Could it be that they decided to set fire to the house to prove a point, or to damage it so badly the council had to re-house them? It is a possibility. If it was the parents then I have no doubt murder was not their intention and things went very badly wrong. I sincerely hope they are not guilty of this for their sake as much as for the remaining children.

The evening meal consisted of a pork chop with mash and cauliflower and although a bit 'firm' wasn't that bad. I would argue the word 'fresh' when attached to the fruit though. A slightly wrinkled apple doesn't quite cut it.

I've got the dubious delight of a rock hard boiled egg and rice krispies with warm milk for breakfast tomorrow. Joy

Monday, 28 May 2012

He's Just A Skater Boy

One of the consequences of hot summer days is that they are usually followed up by warm summer nights. Our bedroom faces east so it has the sun for the longest time and is usually baking by early evening. As a result we sleep with the windows open and as we face out onto the main road this can mean noise. To be fair it is a very quiet street and we usually never hear a thing. Last night was very different.

I was having difficulty dropping off anyway and lay awake cursing the nap I'd involuntarily taken during the afternoon. It wasn't long before I became aware of a strange but repetitive sound in the distance and heading my way. As it got closer I recognised the unmistakable sound of a skateboard (don't ask, that was a whole different lifetime) followed by a thwack and a loud 'fuck' then a scraping sound. These sounds were repeated in sequence until they were directly outside my window. Unable to resist my curiosity I got out of bed and peered carefully out between the curtains. The scraping sound was immediately identified as the sound a skateboard makes when it is being dragged into the middle of the road by a young man so drunk he could barely stand. It took him several seconds to get the board positioned to his liking and then with admirable nerve he took a short run up and jumped onto it. He travelled about 50 meters at some speed before falling off and landing flat on his back (the 'thwack'). He lay still for a couple of seconds before getting to his feet swearing (the 'fuck') and retrieving his skateboard to start the process all over again. I watched him for another two revolutions and then went back to bed and listened as he faded into the distance.

My late night entertainment appeared to have done the trick and I yawned as I snuggled comfortably under the covers. I don't know how long I'd been asleep, it didn't feel like long before I was bolt upright. I'd been rudely awakened by some noisy git who thought it was perfectly acceptable to sound his horn at half past two in the morning. He was obviously dropping off some friends who took it upon themselves to shout their farewells at full volume long after he'd driven off. Silence resumed and thankfully I went back to sleep quite quickly until a buzzing in my head brought me back into consciousness. The clock said ten to eight and someone was sawing down a tree opposite me. I gave up and went and had a soothing bath before tackling the ironing. A quiet sit in the sun with the newspaper being out of the question.

This afternoon it was shopping time and I stocked up with stuff that is quick and easy to cook so my boys won't starve while I'm in hospital then it was out into the garden to enjoy some sunshine before packing for tomorrow's little adventure.

I'm on my own again tonight and am quite looking forward to a bit of peace and quite as it is the last I'm likely to get until he weekend as hospitals are not known for being quiet.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Euro Trash

Why do we bother to take part in the Eurovision song contest? Most of Europe hates us, thanks to Tony Blair, so we are never going to win the thing ever again. Last night was our best shot as countries were desperately competing NOT to win because hardly anyone can afford it. I was expecting tactical voting with the UK winning by a mile in order to cause us more financial problems. As it was Sweden won, just about the only country left who can actually afford to host the competition next year and the UK got a measly twelve points to finish second from last. The only acts I found even remotely interesting were the Russian Grannies, who were cute beyond reason and Jedward, who represented Ireland. Both acts were lively and fun while the rest of the offerings were mostly a dismal dirge accurately reflecting the depression most countries are feeling at the moment. Once again I vowed that I won't be watching again next year but I suspect something will draw me in, damn it.

An afternoon in the garden has left me with the slightest of tans. I don't tan, I go red then return to white but somehow I've managed a dirty brown smudge across the tops of my shoulders and back. It isn't dirt, I checked. Another hour with a good book is planned this afternoon after I've watched the Grand Prix and I will be following the same safety precautions. With a bit of luck tomorrow my tan will actually look like a tan and not as though I've been messy with the gravy.

Well that was a waste of time. The Monaco Grand Prix can either be extremely exciting or extremely dull, today's effort was in the latter catagory. After the first few laps and a couple of minor incidents it became the usual procession with no one overtaking. Our Brit drivers didn't fair that well, Hamilton and De Resta finished in the top ten but poor Button retired after a minor coming together in the last few laps. It is Canada in two weeks and that race is a landmark for me, I remember watching Button win in appalling conditions from my hospital bed so it marks a full year since I have my line put in. Doesn't time fly and not always when you are having fun.

Talking of fun I am writing this while relaxing in the garden. It is unusually quite with no sounds of mowers or motorbikes. The only sounds are the birds singing and the breeze blowing through the trees. It isn't too hot either so everything is just perfect and I'm loving it out here today. I have a pile of ironing to do and a laundry basket full of washing but it can all wait until tomorrow. Today I'm going to just relax and enjoy the weather while it is here. Next weekend is an extended bank holiday to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee so it is bound to come down in buckets for the whole four days.

In the (local) news is shop guru, or should I say High Street Tsar, Mary Portas who is going to set about regenerating Bedford, the town where I work. Now although I admire her intentions I can't help wondering why Bedford has been chosen and not Dunstable. Bedford is positively thriving compare to Dunstable whose shopping centre, called The Quadrant, has all but shut down. Driving through Dunstable is depressing as the high street seems to be made up of pubs, fast food joints and, to be honest, not an awful lot else. What shops there are belong to chains and there is very little choice. Dunstable's problem in getting there in anything other than a car. There is a regular bus service from Luton and irregular services from a few surrounding villages. If you do choose to drive, and many do, then there is the problem of parking. There is free street parking in places but they mean a long walk to the town centre and the only central car park is small and charges a fortune, no wonder people stopped going. In contrast Bedford can be reached by train as well as bus and has a central multi story, which charges but not that much. It also has a number of free disabled bays right in the town centre. The high street has a number of independant shops alongside the usual chains. The jewel in Bedford's crown must be the River Great Ouse which is less than ten minutes from the town center and is a wonderful walk no matter what the weather. So why has Bedford been chosen over Dunstable? Probably because there is less to do and more chance of success. That's called cheating Mary.

Georgia Davies is still critically ill in hospital and her father is all over the newspapers saying it is his fault. I can't help wondering how much he is being paid for this out pouring of guilt. And if he feels so bad about it why let poor Georgia get into such a state in the first place? The report I read, and I don't believe everything I reading newspapers, said that it was only when Georgia screamed that she could no longer stand that either parent decided to get help. I really, really hope that is not true but fear it might be.

Smirnoff has chosen to join me and is stretched out on the chair beside me dozing. I think it is time I did the same, oh I do love summer.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sunshine Came Creeping ......

Had a phone call from the hospital late yesterday, my first thought was that I was being canceled again. As it turned out the call was just to remind me to stop my Warfarin on Sunday in preparation. I was also told that I was going to have a left hand catheter as well as the RHC. Apparently concern has been expressed over the stability of the heart repair I had at the age of four and they want to check that it is still holding, I think I'd know by now if it were not. Ah well best to get it all done at once I suppose but because I'll be on the table longer I have to have another day in hospital, whoop de doop.

Andrew had a great time at his leavers do. He didn't win the three legged race but enjoyed it anyway. The afternoon was spent at the local pub and then the evening at a friend's party. He eventually arrived home hot and tired and with the beginning a sunburn. Now of course the hard work begins and he has a fortnight of pure study before his next exam.

Another lovely sunny day and I've ditched my tee shirts for shoe string straps and my joggers for shorts. I'm not supposed to expose my skin to too much sun as the drugs I'm taking makes me burn more easily so I'm careful. I don't got out during the hottest part of the day, except to have lunch on the decking which is in shade and at other times I smother myself in factor thirty and limit my time to an hour before diving for cover. To be fair I've never been a sun worshipper and would rather be cold than hot so this doesn't really bother me. Since getting PH I find extremes of heat even more difficult to cope with. Heat opens up the veins as the body tries to cool itself so my blood pressure plummets, as it is already artificially low due to the meds this tends to make me to feel faint. Also the hotter it gets the more difficult it is for me to breathe so I end up with a sweaty plastic tube across my face as I need more oxygen. Despite all this I love to spend a summery day out in the garden listening to the birds. It won't be quite as pleasant this year as I've been unable to sort the garden out but I've noticed more butterflies, bees and birds than we usually get so maybe this year I'll just keep the lawn in check and leave the rest to nature.

Lunch was a stir fry of beef, marinaded in grated fresh ginger and soy sauce, red and green peppers, carrot, mushroom, bean sprouts and egg noodles, delicious. We also took out a jug of iced tea, perfect for this weather. We sat around and chatted and felt totally relaxed, lovely. Afterwards Peter and I watched the Grand Prix qualifying from Monaco, which I'd recorded, while Andrew stayed outside and did some revision. He is trying to get a head start on his tan ready for his holiday in Bulgeria. When the GP had finished, disappointing for Button, great for Hamilton, I joined Andrew outside with a book and Peter went to finish working on his car, he is replacing the piston rings to cure a leak.

Unfortunately our peace was soon shattered by my next door neighbour mowing the lawn, but it wasn't for long and bird song soon took over. We were both highly amused when a bird turned up sounding just like R2D2. Everytime it started to sing we were in fits. It wasn't long before more mowers started up and then we began getting the first whiffs of barbecue so I retreated back indoors and watched the last half of an old movie while drinking a refreshing cuppa. We will be back out at tea time though, I don't want to waste a minute of this nice weather, it might be the only summer we get. This evening we will all sit out and enjoy a Pimms or two before making popcorn and indulging in a film night.

The papers are full of the story of Georgia Davies, the sixty three stone teen, this morning. The majority are taking the same stance I have and are roundly blaming the mother, while a few others are trying to turn it into something political, which it is not, and are blaming the health authority for not sending her on another fat camp. They don't seem to realise that it doesn't matter how many fat camps she goes on, if her mother starts stuffing fish and chips down her throat the minute she returns what hope does she have? According to reports she is in quite a bad way. I do hope she recovers and I also hope that she does not return to her parents because next time she is removed from her house it could well be in a coffin.

Tonight is the Eurovision song contest. We tend not to watch this anymore simply because of the outrageous voting that goes on. This year Andrew seems keen so we've compromised on watching until the voting starts and then going into a film. Whether it will work out like that I don't know.

Friday, 25 May 2012

As Sure As Sunshine Follows The Rain.

Following the disappointment of Monday I got a call from the Brompton while at work on Wednesday to say they will do my Right Heart Catheter for me next week. They have made me top priority with a 'Do Not Cancel' marker next to my name so short of the whole of London shutting down this time next week it will all be over and I should be on my way home. Maybe the tide is turning in my favour at last.

Work was OK, at least it helped take my mind off my situation. There is nothing like someone screaming for help on the end of the phone to concentrate the mind and make you forget everything else. I'm still on my eight hour days but am now toying with the idea of giving nine hours a go, just to see if I can do it. My contracted hours are ten hours per day, four days per week but I haven't been able to do that since I had my line put in and this bothers me. Getting back to full time is my ongoing goal and I'm determined to get there, even if it is only for a day. I'll see how I feel after my RHC, as I've been feeling pretty good since my scare in February, and decide then.

Summer has finally arrived and boy don't we know it. Sitting in the office in full uniform and surrounded by computers is not pleasant, especially as the air con doesn't seem to be working. I can't really complain though, I always feel better when the sun is out and as long as it doesn't get too hot, heat makes breathing more difficult, I enjoy it by sitting out in the garden with a good book.

Today is Andrew's very last day, apart from exams, at school. I'm still trying to take it all in, where has the time gone? As is tradition he will be taking place in the three legged fancy dress race from school to pub. He is dressing as a Ninja while his partner will be in full pirate gear. Still it is better than last years effort when two students ran the race in mankinis, I don't think the deputy headmistress has ever recovered. Andrew has already sat one exam and has another three to come, thankfully none clashing with my hospital appointments. If the weather holds he will spend the next few week revising al fresco or sunbathing as I know it.

The torch relay has sunk to even greater depths after Will.I.Am (stupid name) did a stint. You could tell he was really into the occasion by the way he didn't stop texting on his phone. What I want to know is why he carried the torch anyway. The people picked are supposed to be British local hero's, William is neither.

In the news today is the desperately sad story of sixty three stone teenager Georgia Davies. This poor girl fell seriously ill at her home in South Wales and in order to get her to hospital half her house had to be demolished. Now I don't usually have anytime for people in this sort of situation as I believe as they got themselves into the mess, it is up to them to get themselves out. However in this case I feel nothing but sympathy for her and I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of her mother. It isn't as though Georgia hasn't tried to lose weight. A few years back she took part in one of America's notorious 'fat camp' programmes and lost an impressive 14st 6lbs, shrinking from a size Size 38 to Size 22 . However she soon put weight on and when asked why her reply was telling, “When I arrived home my mum said she hadn't had time to prepare any healthy food, so we had fish and chips instead.”

It must be obvious to everyone that this girl has been subject to a form of child abuse all her life. Her mother, who weighs a relatively small eighteen stone herself, has been over feeding Georgia for the whole of her nineteen years. As a result Britain's biggest teen is now in hospital suffering from multiple organ failure. If she does recover, and I sincerely hope she does, it would be suicidal to let her go back to a mother who 'hasn't got time' to encourage her daughter to eat healthily. Georgia should be encouraged to go it alone and her mother should be jailed for child cruelty and ordered to pay the costs of her daughter's rescue and treatment.

Well I'm off to enjoy the weather while it is here and can feel a doze in the sun coming on. Happy days.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Why Do You Have To Be A Heartbreaker

They've canceled me! I cannot bloody believe it, I was so shocked to get the call that I burst into tears at work, something I rarely do. I know there are people out there who don't understand the fear I have of this procedure and think I'm an idiot and a 'drama queen' to get so upset but they don't know how much it takes to even agree to it. The bottom line is one bad experience can ruin things forever. If it wasn't for something so important as my transplant chances I'd have refused point blank. As it is I've spent the last few weeks lying awake at night trying to psych myself up and reassure myself that it won't be as bad as I think. As a result the disappointment was crushing. I went and sat in my car until I could control my tears the went back and finished my shift even though my concentration was all to pot. I told my supervisor what had happened and requested that I take today as leave and return to work Wednesday. I explained I just needed some time and she was very understanding and agreed the leave immediately.

By the time I got home I'd become more or less resigned and managed to tell Andrew and Peter what had happened without bursting into tears again. As luck would have it both were going out that evening one to work and one to a meeting so by seven I had the house to myself. After doing my drug regime, I gathered up the cats and a box of tissues and sobbed my heart out for a couple of hours. I cried so hard I gave myself palpitations. When I finally calmed down I felt so much better. I hadn't realised how much stress I'd been under and it all came flooding out. By the time the boys came home I'd treated myself to a pizza and was sitting on the settee with a cuppa quiet calm.

Today the anger has appeared and I'm bloody furious that this has happened again! I know there are people who are much more in need than I am and I know they would not cancel without good reason but why is it always me? I know it sounds selfish but I'm also in need, I've already been told that I need a transplant as quickly as possible and yet it is one delay after another. Throughout my entire PH journey I've never had a procedure I've been booked in for on the day. I've always, always been bumped and I don't think it's fair. All PH patients are told to avoid stress but at the moment my biggest source of stress is the hospital itself. I'm seriously beginning to regret agreeing to transplant, I can't help thinking going on the list, with no guarantee of success, is worth all the aggravation. I knew it wouldn't be an easy road but I didn't expect it to be this difficult, for me or my family.

I was very sad to wake up the the news yesterday that Robin Gibb had finally succumbed to his cancer. The BeeGees are another part of the soundtrack of my youth that have now gone forever. I loved Saturday Night Fever and especially the song Staying Alive which I'd bounce around to as though I were on springs. Even hearing it today I have to move to it, I end up breathless and blue but what the heck. Sixty two is far too young to die and who knows what great music we've lost. Robin was also well know for his charitable works so not only was he a great entertainer but he cared for people, I believe but I maybe wrong, that one of his charities involved wounded service men. I suspect he will be missed by many more than just those in the music business.

Just had a call from Carl at the Brompton. He has heard of the cancellation and was extremely sympathetic, of all the medical staff I deal with he knows me best and understands. He will have words with the doc's at the Brompton and see if there is an early slot he can fit me into so I can have the procedure there. Harefield doesn't have anything free until July and Carl doesn't think it is fair for me to wait that long. However he also had good news, I can have my catheter fixed this afternoon as long as I can get there by one. So at least I'll get one thing sorted. Peter has suggested lunch out and then a trip to a gallery or museum afterwards, sounds perfect.

I have just discovered the full convoy list for the Olympic torch.

Accompanying the flame are...
2 motorcycle outriders
2 police cars
1 pilot vehicle
1 minibus
1 chaperone car
3 sponsors vehicles
buses (unspecified number)
1 bomb disposal team
local police, security,traffic and outriders (unspecified number)
ambulance and fire brigade (unspecified number)
Shuttle buses for media (unspecified number)
sponsors back up vehicles ( unspecified number)

What a waste of money! How on earth are we affording this when we can't afford to give our retired a decent pension or fund life saving cancer drugs? I'd have a rant but I am genuinely lost for words.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

So Let The Flames Begin

The tackiness continues as the Olympic flame completes it's first day on British soil. It is accompanied by three vans advertising the sponsors, Coca-Cola (surprise, surprise), Samsung and Lloyds TSB. They travel ahead of the flame handing out banners and flags liberally covered in their advertising, as if Coca-Cola doesn't have enough. Generous? Well maybe, no matter how cheaply made they must have spent millions. Cynical? Certainly, they will make far more than they spent otherwise what would be the point?

As I predicted it is only day one and some fool has attempted to 'interfere with flame' and got pushed into a bush by a jogging policeman for his pains.

However the worst is yet to come, the torches have barely cooled down before appearing on ebay. So despite it being an 'honour', 'the best day of my life' and 'something I will treasure for the rest of my life' the 'athletes' saw a money making opportunity and took it. Each person had to pay, yes pay £250 for the honour of representing their country and ensuring the flame's safe arrival in London, however as the first torches have reached £150,000 at auction so far and are still rising I would say that was a sound  investment.  Can I really blame them in this economic climate? Not really but again I blame the organisers for not thinking ahead.. Of course if the torch relay had been a real relay as it is meant to be there would only be one torch and this would never have happened. As it is profit has cheapened the whole spectacle yet again, a sign of the times I suppose but very, very sad.

More of note was another weekend of celebration for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, an event I feel should be taking center stage. This time it was a fly past over Windsor Castle involving eighy five military aircraft past and present. It came as something of a surprise as I didn't know we had eighty five military aircraft left. Despite the dreadful coverage provided by Sky News at least they did cover it live. The event was ignored by the BBC except in news bulletins. As I watched I once again mourned the passing of Concorde, although not a military plane it would have added some badly needed glamour.

The weather is cold and dull but at least it is dry. I cannot believe we are entering the third week of May and I'm still wearing my winter woollies. We have removed our winter duvet and gone for our summer one but haven't put the winter one away as yet. It is lying within easy reach in case we need it in the middle of the night. We haven't yet but last night was a close run thing.

Laurence is coming for lunch today and he has just sent a text to say he is on his way so I'd better get down to the kitchen and start cooking. Will tell all tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Wake Me Up When September Comes

Still got my cold but no better and no worse. Had a really good night's sleep and didn't wake up until nine, brilliant!

Finally got the phone call from the hospital, a mixture of good and bad news. Apparently the line man is also under the weather and is expected back on Monday. Carl, my nurse, who sounds as rough as hell, will grab him first thing and try and arrange a time. With a bit of luck it will be Monday but it is more likely to be Thursday or Friday, I can't go Tuesday or Wednesday as I'm in Harefield. Carl asked me lots of questions about the repair, such as is it leaking, and then advised me to remove it, give the area a good clean with alcohol and re-wrap it. On the plus side he said that if I had caught an infection I'd be really poorly by now so at least that is a comfort of sorts. To be honest if the medics are all down with bugs I'd rather wait until after my RHC anyway as I don't want it delayed by me having anything infectious. It is a bit of a pain having to wait again but at least by this time next week all the trauma should be passed and I can start to relax a bit again.

Well the Olympic torch left soggy Greece to arrive in soggy Britain on a 'gold' coloured plane. I already wince at the tackiness of it all. The flame was accompanied by Princess Anne Lord Coe and David Beckham. I can understand Princess Anne and Seb Coe as they were both Olympians but David Beckham? David Beckham is a footballer married to a stick insect who has chosen to leave Britain for the sun and celebrity of America. What on earth qualifies him to, not only accompany the torch but to light the cauldron when the torch reaches British soil?  And the rumour is that Beckham will also be lighting the flame in the stadium when it gets there. I have nothing against David Beckham per se but is he really the best role model they could find? Let's face it, non of our current crop of sports stars are doing very well, Andy Murray continues to be our great tennis hope despite losing almost every tournament. The English cricket team are closer to being heros having won the ashes and gained the number one in the world spot, albeit briefly. And motorsport doesn't get a look in despite boasting two British world champions.

The best David Beckham managed was losing in the world cup during a penalty shoot out and then go off to play football anywhere else but Britain.  Anyone reading my blog will know I am not a great lover of football, I just don't see the point of it, but if the best footballer we've got is a forty something who no longer even plays in Britain then we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Personally I'd bring out Frank Bruno. Yes I know he's had his problems of late but he is one of the greats. No longer a boxer he lives quietly doing the odd TV appearance and causes no trouble. Yes he does have some issues with his mental health but I think he would do us proud. Mohammed Ali lit the flame despite his obvious problems with Parkinson's, so why can't we have Frank?

Anyway the flame is here and the first day of chaos has started, roll on September when it is all over. I know I should be thrilled, excited and proud that the Olympics are on British soil and I really thought I would be but right from the start Britain showed the world that it couldn't organise a party in a brewery. From the chaotic ticket sales to the putting of missiles on tower blocks the powers that be have clearly demonstrated they just haven't got a clue. These games are likely to be disrupted by the weather, strikes and terrorist alerts, hardly the impression we want the international stage to be left with. As for the native Brits well we face three months of disruption to our travel arrangements, holiday plans and day to day working lives. While some have been told to stay at home for seven weeks others have been told that they cannot take any leave meaning those with school aged children are unlikely to be able to get away during the precious school holidays. And as for the cost, well just don't get me started.

With sport dominating the schedules yet again today I tuned into BBC 2 to watch Macbeth. I have read this play many times, having studied it at school but I've never actually seen it. Now I know why, blimey how did they manage to make it so boring. Anyway in need of a mood lightener I got my box set of the Vicar of Dibley and happily watched a couple of episodes while doing the ironing.

Tomorrow Laurence is coming for lunch and then it is back to work for one day, provided I don't get a phone call, and then off to Harefield for the dreaded RHC. Where is the time going?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Heaven's Just A Whisper Away

I've put on weight, at last! I now weigh seven and a half stone or approx fifty kilos. My clinical team are going to be delighted. I'm still below the eight stone they would like me to be but at least I'm making progress. They want me to put weight on to help me get through the first few days after transplant as I'll be eating nothing during that time. Must say that has cheered me up.

I still have my cold but it is no better or worse than it was yesterday so I'm holding off going to the GP just yet.I have a feeling it is going to be one of those horrible colds that never develop properly but just hang around for weeks making you feel under the weather but not ill enough to stay off work. Another day of doing nothing planned, I'm determined this cold is not going to beat me.

The mystery as to why I haven't heard from the hospital was solved yesterday by an e mail from my specialist nurse. He fell ill himself on Monday and only returned to work yesterday. He is currently making frantic arrangements to try and get me seen asap, if not this afternoon then first thing next Monday. I knew there was something up, they are usually so good at getting me in the silence was unusual.

My relaxing afternoon at home didn't quite materialise yesterday when I suddenly remembered I had an opticians appointment. I've been having trouble with my new distance glasses. The reading glasses are perfect, as are my contacts so I figured it must be something to do with the glasses themselves rather than me. After twenty minutes the optician admitted defeat, my prescription hasn't changed, the mistake is their's. They have corrected for an astigmatism I haven't got. So I'm without my new glasses for another week while they fix it. As I was already out we went to do our weekly shop and then returned home for a teatime treat of Nachos smothered in salsa and melted cheese, delicious.

Watching the news later we were both shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Donna Summer. Like most people my age her songs were part of the sound track to my teenage years and I remember giggling with some friends over the moans and groans of her hit 'Love To Love', we thought they were terribly risqué. Goes to show how innocent we were back then despite following on from the decade that brought the 'sexual revolution'. You listen to some songs these days and it is like listening to the sound track of a porn film, can't help thinking that we had more 'fun' than teenagers do today.

Another blown came this morning with news of the death of seven year old Molly taken by PH. All deaths from PH are horrible but it is when you hear of it taking a child that you really know what it means to hate this illness. At least I had a chance to marry, have kids, travel and enjoy life before PH overtook me. Molly has been denied all that and never really knew what it was like to be well. My thoughts are with her parents.

So I'm sitting here waiting for a phone call from the hospital, I seem to spend my life waiting for things, and wondering what to do for lunch. My cold is making me fussy and has dampened my appetite, bad news for my weight gain programme so I'm thinking cheesy omelets. They are quick and easy and I won't have to worry about abandoning them to got to the hospital in a hurry. I can just stuff the mixture in the fridge and we can have them for tea when we get back instead.

Got a pile of ironing in the airing cupboard calling my name but I just cannot be bothered at the moment, I will have to get it done tomorrow though as I have Laurence coming for lunch on Sunday and I don't want to be up to my ears in laundry while he's here.

Ah well the kitchen is calling even if the hospital isn't, will update tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Suffer The Little Children

Anyone watching the news last night could not be anything but moved by the pain and dignity shown by the parents of six children that died in a house fire in Derby. Losing one child is bad enough but to lose six, well the pain must be unimaginable. Yet despite the pain the father spoke with dignity and proved in very few words what a great father he is. Not only that but in the midst of his pain he was able to think of others and donate the organs of the eldest boy to the transplant service. This lad had survived the initial fire but died later in hospital. Like most people I have seen media reports regarding this family, the father having seventeen children via two women and thought here is another example of a lazy good for nothing using children to get more benefits. Having listened to him my attitude has softened because no one deserves what has happened to this family and I do believe he is a decent man who just loves children.

As for the scumbag who poured petrol through the letterbox while the family were sleeping. I just hope the police get to him or her before someone else tracks them down. I cannot understand how anyone could pour petrol into a house containing sleeping children, and they must have know there were children present. This is very obviously a personal attack by someone with a grudge, they will never be able to claim they did not know children were sleeping there. When found and jailed, and I have no doubts they will be, they will wish we still had the death sentence because they will not be in for an easy ride.

I have woken up with a cold, at least now I know why I've been feeling low these last few days. Thankfully it hasn't turned into a chest infection yet but I will be keeping a close eye and will be ready for a dash to the GP should things start to take a nasty turn. As I still haven't heard from the hospital regarding my line repair I'm planning a day of rest and relaxation in front of the TV drinking lots of tea in the hope a bit of codling will encourage my cold to remain just a cold. I know my immune system has improved a bit recently as I've avoided at least two nasty bugs that Andrew has brought home from school and I didn't get any infection after my last line leak. I've also been taking vitamin C and D regularly after being told I was deficient in January so I'm as prepared as I can be. I figure lots of rest and not over doing it might just tip the balance in my favour.

And so we come to The Apprentice and the 'promote something' task.

This year, being the jubilee year and Olympic year yardi yardi ya, they were tasked with promoting English sparkling wine over French Champagne. Not difficult you would think, wrong!

Team Phoenix, the losers of at least the last two tasks, got off to a cracking start having a wine expert and a web designer on their team. The web designer was left to tackle the technical side with another team member while the wine expert took his best mate off to do some wine tasting and get sloshed. They had a ball tasting wine after wine while turning a delicate shade of scarlet. In the meantime the design team came up with a rather obvious logo with ESW (English Sparkling Wine) plonked in the middle and a rather boring video.

Over at team Sterling having bemoaned the fact that they did not have any experts on hand they struggled to chose a name. Andrew and I came up with half a dozen in about ten seconds flat including Monarch and Regal. What did Sterling choose? Grandeur, yep a French name. The team then split, two to do research and two to produce the website and video, the team leader reminding everyone that the emphasis was on quality, quality, quality. The researchers headed to Tesco, quality, while the designers came up with a video the 'Carry On' team would have been embarrassed by.

Back in the boardroom Lord Sugar stared in disbelief then shook his head sadly as neither team really 'got' that they were supposed to be promoting not selling. After some deliberation he decided that Phoenix's effort was less embarrassing than Sterling's and Phoenix were sent off to drink Champagne in a hot tub. For Sterling it was the dishwater tea at the cafe then a grilling by Lord Sugar. Team leader Ricky rightly brought the two video makers back into the boardroom with him as fourth member Gabrielle had come up with the only good thing, a logo of a wine glass in the shape of a rose.

After at lot of blaming each other it was Jenna that got the boot while Ricky and Stephen lived to fight another day. Stephen is unable to rest on his laurels though as, having promised that the next time he is project manager he'd win, Lord Sugar promptly made him project manager of the next task without even telling him what is was. Just cannot wait for next week.

Well I'm off for a quiet afternoon in front of the TV and maybe I'll even treat myself to a nap this afternoon. I feel I deserve it.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Down, Down, Deeper And Down

Not been feeling myself the last couple of days. Don't think it is anything to do with my line leak, which is now safely sealed, but more to do with the cold that is doing the rounds at work. I was fine on Monday, came over all weepy on Tuesday and am exhausted today. I'm so tired that I actually had to come home from work, don't think I've ever had to do that before, at least not in a very long time.

Work was OK, I'm still on eight hours but found them to be a real struggle this week. I think I've been rather overwhelmed by events, with the split in the line, again, and the upcoming RHC everything has got to be a bit too much. Everyone says I'm so 'brave' and so 'positive' but you can't be 'brave' and 'positive' all the time, eventually something has to give and I think I'm going through one of those stages. You know, the stage where you just want everything to stop, you want all the pills and machines and pain, and doctors to just do one and leave you alone. What I wouldn't give to wake up and find I can breath normally and feel really well. Maybe one day, who knows.

Does anyone think that the fire at the Williams garage following the Spanish Grand Prix can be anything other than arson? The Spanish fans do not take kindly to their local hero being beaten, especially by a relative newcomer in a team way below the mighty Ferrari. I have no doubt the FIA will investigate and then say it was an accident due to a faulty something or other. After all they don't want to insult their hosts. I also have no doubt that Alonso and Ferrari are completely innocent of any wrong doing but I can't say the same for their supporters.

Still haven't heard from the hospital about going in to repair my leak, it is probably going to be Friday now unless they call early tomorrow to get me in after lunch. I'm not worried as I've sealed everything off, I'll just be happier once it is done properly.

If it were not for The Apprentice I'd be in bed early tonight but I've been looking forward to it all week so no way I'm missing it. I so hope I feel better tomorrow, if not then it is off the the GP, better safe than sorry.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

I Should Be So Lucky.

I cannot believe my luck. Woke up this morning with huge patches on my white top, yes my line has split, again! The difference is I didn't panic as I did last time. I just calmly put on an emergency repair and contacted the hospital. As it is Sunday they can't do anything of course, so they will be contacting me on Monday with a view of going down either Tuesday or Wednesday for yet another repair. They don't seem that worried so I will keep an eye on it, treat my line with kid gloves and not worry either. I can't tell you how fed up I feel right now. No problems for a year and then two line failures within a week. My only consolation is that the new line must be faulty to fail so quickly as I've been mega careful with it. So it is back to hospital again this week and then hospital the week after for the dreaded RHC. I feel as though I'm living just to spend time in hospitals at the moment.

It's the Spanish Grand Prix and I'm horrified that Lewis Hamilton has been sent to the very back of the grid for a mistake his team made. Call me paranoid but I can't help thinking that if it were anywhere else but Spain it would have been the standard ten place punishment and a fine for the team. I hoped he'd finish ahead of Alonso, that would have made my day. Unfortunately it wasn't to be but at least Alonso didn't win.

Watched the final of Britain's Got Talent and was saddened to see that the brilliant opera singers Charlotte and Jonathan were pipped at the post by a dog. The world has officially gone crazy. Still I suppose it's better than being beaten by any of the other acts. The choir Only Boys Aloud apart, the 'talent' was sadly lacking and it was probably the worst final I've ever seen.

Andrew returned home from his party this morning bleary eyed but quite cheerful and with everything still intact. He had a brilliant time by all accounts but his attempts to do any serious revision this afternoon have been dashed as he can hardly keep his eyes open. I suspect it will be early to bed for him tonight, and me as I have work tomorrow.

The weather, for a change was brilliant today. The wind was cooler than I'd like and the clouds kept rolling over but on the whole it remained sunny all day. The ground though is still terribly wet and although my line is now sealed I didn't want to take the risk of getting it caught or pulled so resisted any gardening. I did manage to get my washing out though so at least I'll have fresh, clean sheets to slip between tonight, lovely.

As I've said earlier I'm back to work tomorrow but only for three days, then I'm off for another four. I've decided to go in as I don't think anything will get done about my line tomorrow. The earliest will be Tuesday as they have to arrange for the doctor to be free to do the repair. If I get an earlier call I'll just have to take a day off. Bloody line, I so regret agreeing to have it put in and given the choice again, knowing what I know, my answer would be a resounding NO. Still what's done is done and I just have to get on with it, if only it was that simple.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

My What Big Feet You Have.

Today I went shoe shopping with Andrew, well not exactly shoe, more trainers. The process was a bit quick in the end, he saw a pair he really liked in John Lewis, noted the name and then went to the other shoe shops to see if he could find anything he liked better. There wasn't any so back we went, job done.

Although I was told when I rang yesterday that all the mobility scooters had been hired out, there were very few in evidence and the disabled bays were almost empty so either someone was telling porkies or there had been a mass no show. It didn't really matter, we got along just fine with the wheelchair, but I can't help thinking Andrew might have been willing to visit a few more shops if he hadn't had to push me.

Deciding to treat ourselves we went to Pizza Express for lunch and we were very pleasantly surprised. The pizzas are very authentic, much like the ones you can pick up at any roadside snack bar in Rome. I has a goat's cheese, mozzarella, caramelised onion and spinach on a wafer thin base. Andrew had pepperoni and jalapeño, while Peter had chicken and peppers both on the same thin base. They were absolutely delicious but a word of warning also massive. I ended up taking half of mine home in a box. I will finish it off tonight with a glass of wine while watching the Britain's Got Talent final. I haven't been to Pizza Hut in years and having discovered Pizza Express doubt I'll go there again. As for Domino's well, call that a pizza?

We arrived back mid afternoon and settled down to watch the qualifying for tomorrow's Spanish GP, I'd remember to record it, thank God. Felt really sorry for Button who only just missed out on a top ten place on the grid. Felt even sorrier for Hamilton, who broke down after pipping Alonso to pole, as he was subject to jeers and insults from the crowd. Honestly F1 is getting more like football every day.

Andrew is off to a party tonight so will be staying over, giving Peter and myself a rare night by ourselves. This is something we are going to have to get used to, in a blink of an eye he'll be off to uni. Before he went he asked me to test him on Biology. This would have gone better if I could have pronounced some of the words. He did quite well as far as I could tell but there are gaps, so he is going to have to get his head down over the next few weeks. Having said all that he came home proudly waving a mock paper yesterday with a big B on the front. This was for Psychology, which is his first exam, boosted his confidence no end. At least he looks as though he's got at least one subject nailed.

Well off for a cuppa and a piece of my pancake, I have to say it tastes really good even it it does look as though someone has sat on it.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Twenty One Years And Counting

Another day, another downpour. Things started well, bright, sunny and breezy but as soon as I thought about hanging my washing out the clouds appeared.

Yesterday I got wet, very wet. After a relaxed morning we headed out to the newsagents to get my passport photocopied, then it was on to Tesco's for the photos and some shopping. As it happened the photo's came out not too bad though I do have a very intense look on my face. This was the result of the stool which I wound up to my correct height only for it to descend with thump every time I sat on it. I had to hover over it as though it was a suspect public loo but I got the photos I needed in the end. From there it was off to Bedford to deliver the application for my blue badge renewal and then finally on to Milton Keynes and Costco. By the time we got home it was approaching six and I was damp, cold and tired.

This morning I managed to wake up after eight, but only just, and felt rested and in a very good mood, probably helped by the bright sunshine. Unfortunately the sun did not last but the good mood did and I've had a happy, contented day.

Andrew forgot his lunch this morning so I texted him to ask if he want to collect or me to take it to him. He decided to return during a free when he cheerfully told me he officially finishes school on 25th May. Oh Wow! No more school aged children. Where did all the time go?

Talking of time it was my middle son William's twenty first birthday yesterday. William was born at 29 weeks and only lived 21 days, he died in my arms. Peter was at work and despite trying to move heaven and earth didn't make it to the hospital in time to say goodbye. Although he never says I think he has never quite forgiven himself.

Time has deadened the pain and I don't cry on his birthday anymore but I try and imagine how he would have looked now. What would he be, would he be in uni, would he be working? So many questions left unanswered. I don't go to his grave anymore because I just can't get there but after he died the Vicar said to me, don't think of him being in the ground, that is just a vessel, he will always live in your heart. How wise that man was. So yesterday I quietly said happy birthday and put another year aside.

This afternoon I attempted.......a cake! I decided to go right back to basics and do a plain old Victoria sandwich, what could possibly go wrong with that? The picture in the recipe book showed a cake about a foot deep, I ended up with two pancakes. So to console myself I made a cottage loaf which turn out beautifully and tasted delicious.

We are off to Milton Keynes again tomorrow, as I foolishly promised to get Andrew some new trainers as his current ones as cutting his feet to shreds every time he goes running. Unfortunately I have been unable to hire a scooter for the occasion as they are already all booked out. So I'm going to have to be pushed in my manual chair, at least it might cut down on the number of shops he wants to visit.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Come On Baby Light My Fire

Today the Olympic flame is due to be lit at the temple of Hera near Olympia. We in Britain are supposed to be very excited by this event, if you take any notice of the media. However maybe people would not be quiet so excited if they knew the origins of this 'tradition'.

In ancient Greece they held 'torch races', which were similar to our egg and spoons races today. The winner was the one who came in first with his flames still alight. It is also true that messengers were sent out to call Greece's best athletes to a 'games' every so often, the precise frequency has never really been established. However the torch racers and the messengers were never combined to form a torch bearer as we understand it today. This little gem is much more modern and was the brainwave of a chap with a dodgy haircut and toothbrush mustache, and I'm not talking Charlie Chaplin. Yep the modern torch relay was all Hitler's idea to spice up the 1936 Olympics. He arranged for a team of Germany's finest to run with a lighted torch from Athens to Berlin to raise a bit of enthusiasm. It seems people were not that keen on competing, can't think why.

After a quick tour of Greece, where it risks being stolen or worse by those protesting about the state of their country's wealth, or lack of it, it crosses to Britain, where it risks been put out by a sudden downpour. And so will begin a seventy, yes seventy day trek to London. Excuse me but the One Show managed Edinburgh to London in a week, so why is this going to take so long? Well it seemed we are having the same problems as Hitler, and Greece. There are a lot of angry Brits who do not see why all this money can be spent on an event lasting one month when they are losing their jobs through a double dip recession. Then there are the people who hate it for a wide range of other reasons, some to such an extent they are leaving the country while the event is on. There are others who fear the possibility of terrorist attack and then there are those who know it is going to rain every single day. In short there is not a lot of enthusiasm among the natives of this country and so in order to try and rectify this the Olympic committee are going to make sure as many people as possible feel 'included'. How are they going to do this? By disrupting the lives of as many as they possibly can with a relay that will visit every major town and city. Yep making us late for work, a date, a funeral is really going to get us onside.

And so we come to The Apprentice and the sale of modern art.

I did not like this task and found this episode a little bit boring to be honest. To cut a long story short, after managing to insult their artist and ignore and insult their corporate buyers Sterling won by just over a hundred pound. Phoenix found themselves back in the boardroom. Their mistake was trying to sell twelve foot tall canvasses at exorbitant prices to middle class suburbanites with very little wall space.Team Leader Tom brought Jade and Laura back into the boardroom but after it was revealed who sold the least it was Laura who was given her marching orders.

I finally got my lie in this morning, well sort of. I slept right through till, seven thirty. Ah well, it means more time to do stuff and one of the things I have to do this week is renew my blue badge for parking. The letter arrived on Saturday and I was more than a bit alarmed to discover that it warned of an 8 -10 week wait, brilliant as I received the renewal pack exactly eight weeks before my old badge runs out AND on a bank holiday so I couldn't do anything about it until Tuesday, when I was at work. I filled the form in yesterday, it was quite straight forward in the end. As I get higher rate DLA for mobility there was a great deal of the form I was able to ignore. However I still have to get a 'passport style photo' and a photocopy of my passport to add to the pack before sending it off. I'll get this done this afternoon but can't help thinking that they have made things unnecessarily complicated. I know that blue badges are abused left, right and center but looking at the form and all the stuff you have to include with your application it's easier to get a new passport.

I have developed a cough and a slight tightness in my chest, I'm not surprised, colleagues at work have been coughing, spluttering and sneezing all week. I'm OK at the moment but if things get worse over the next few hours I'm off to the GP tomorrow. I need to be well for my RHC on the 23rd so must catch any potential problems early.

Well time to prepare lunch, I'm finally doing that curry recipe I was given. Then it's off to find a photo botth that doesn't make me look like the walking dead. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

All By Myself

Woo Hoo! I've got the house to myself today. Andrew is at school and Peter is at work so it is just little old me to do as she pleases for a whole day.

It has been a very odd weekend. Because Monday was a bank holiday everyone kept thinking it was Sunday and so confusion reigned, at least for me. We started the week with two marches through one of our town centers. The English Defense League and the Unite Against Fascism matches fortunately never actually met, despite some valiant attempts on both sides to do so, and the day passed peacefully. After heaving a big sigh of relief we were soon back to shop lifting and those wretched bloody mini motorcycles, honestly whoever thought those up ought to be locked up. To top it all it was also a full moon so we also had more than our fair share of the weird and wonderful.

I upped my hours from seven to eight and despite a stressful couple of rest days coped better than I thought I would. Thought tired coming home last night I didn't feel exhausted as I have done previously so I think eight hours are OK for me, at least for now.

So to my day of freedom.

Although I was up early, because Peter was up early for work, I started well. I enjoyed breakfast in bed with a leisurely read of the paper and then had a long soak with a bath bomb and book. It all went a bit downhill from there and by nine thirty I'd cleaned the bathroom, stripped the beds and put the laundry on, filled the dishwasher, washed up the stuff that can't go in the dishwasher and made the beds. I don't know what it is but I just cannot relax if I see jobs that need doing and with no one to shout at me to 'leave it' I had a whale of a time. However I think this has played to my advantage because by ten I had nothing else I could physically do by myself so the rest of the day really was all mine. My dilemma  was how to use this rare opportunity. If the weather had been nice there would be no contest, a bit of gentle weeding followed by a snooze on the sun lounger with a good book and nice drink or two.The weather being crap as usual I settled for a couple of DVD's and a catch up on Neighbours and Britain's Got Talent. So not that much different from what I usually do but I didn't have to watch anyone else doing the housework so could for once be lazy without feeling guilty.

In the news it is plain that the powers that be are getting twitchy about security during the Olympics (if it were me I'd be more worried about the weather). To heighten our fears America announces that they have foiled a plot to blow up a plane with an 'underpant bomb'. Really? There are many places one could possibly hid a bomb about ones person but in your underpants! Personally I am a little bit suspicious about the timing of this announcement. Could it be that they are trying to frighten us into accepting more draconian measures on our freedom 'for the period of the games' only to forget to relax them again afterwards.

On a more positive note it seems Dustin Hoffman saved the life of a jogger having a heart attack. I like Dustin Hoffman as an actor and am pleased to find that he isn't too grand to step in and help in a crisis. He also didn't advertise the fact being modest enough to keep quiet and just walk away as soon as he knew the jogger would be OK. How many celebs would do that I wonder? I suspect there are a good proportion who would instantly get themselves booked on every talk show going to talk about their 'ordeal'.

Talking of celebs it is time for me to take to the sofa and watch a few going through their paces. Bye.

Friday, 4 May 2012

A Quick Fix

Yesterday's trip to Tesco was uneventful but I was surprised to find they have started charging a pound for a trolley, which you get back when it is returned. Typically the one coin neither of us had was a pound coin so it meant a quick trip into the store and a queue at customer services to change our tens and twenties into something we could use. Obviously my mind was one something else because when I got home I realised that I'd forgotten a few important items. We passed a Tesco on our way home so popped in and picked up the missing bits and pieces along with a choccy treat for me. Talking of choccy treats I've finally put on some weight, a whole pound, now I've just got to make sure I don't loose it again.

Slept like a log last night so obviously my subconscious is nowhere near as worried about my leak as my conscious is. No dreams but somehow in the middle of the night I had kicked off all the covers onto Pete's side so Peter woke up sweltering and I was freezing.

I looked at the ironing but decided it could wait until I got back from the hospital, as I'd been told the repair would take minutes I reckoned I'd be home in plenty of time for that pleasure later in the afternoon and if the worst came to the worst and I was left waiting hours I'd just do the essentials that I need for work and Andrew needs for school. Andrew has ironed his own shirts before but they usually look like they've been run over and have more creases than he started with.

Well today is the day I had to go and get my line repaired, had no idea what to expect so took a change of dressing, spare line and bung just in case. Thankfully there were no traffic problems either in or out of London despite it being a bank holiday. Once at the hospital I had a brief wait before being shown into the treatment room. The change over was really, really quick and I was disconnected from my pump for all of a minute. I had to wait around for thirty minutes or so afterwards to make sure my pump was running without blockages or leaks and was free to go, oh nearly forgot. I also had to have a blood test to check for infection.

So another drama done and dusted. One heads up though for those of you with Hickman or Groshlong lines. Never clean them with alcohol wipes, it melts the glue around the connectors. Wash with normasol instead.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Woke Up This Morning Feeling Fine....

Woke up this morning to find a strange stain on my top, I tried to remember whether I'd got up for a drink in the night and maybe slopped it but I was sure I'd have remembered doing something like that. A close examination of my line revealed a small leak where the line had parted slightly from the connector. Talk about panic, I live in fear of infections and am always so careful so was understandably terrified. Phoned the Brompton and was instantly soothed by being told it is not that rare an occurrence. They are arranging a repair kit and will call when they are ready for me. Is there any end to my bad luck?

So while I'm waiting I may as well try and take my mind off things by typing up my blog.

Last night was one of the best nights for television in weeks. First off there was a special programme for my region hoping to persuade us that we still needed to preserve water, that we were still in drought and the hose pipe ban was still in place. As most of us are knee deep in water I don't think it will be that successful, ho hum.

Then to my absolute joy we had Traffic Cops and not just any old traffic cops but cops from my police force. My favourite bit was when Paulo the police dog bit two fugitives who had done a runner after smashing up their car. Their yells while the dog handler kept shouting 'leave' was just brilliant. The most frightening bit was when a drunk woman was stopped in her car. She blew 166 on the intoximeter but to all intents and purposes looked and sounded fairly sober. Thankfully she was banned for three years but she'd never have been caught at all if she hadn't driven into a kerb in front of a police inspector on his way to a meeting, frightening.

Then of course we had The Apprentice.

It was one of my favourite tasks this week, and one of the easiest. The teams were given a van and £150 each and let loose in a warehouse to buy items to sell on a market stall. They then had to work out which items sold best and replenish supplies throughout the day. Simple, at least you would think so.

Both teams started well enough then team Sterling discovered that selling fake tan in Essex was the best thing they'd ever done and so promptly went back to the warehouse and bought the entire stock. Team Pheonix had more of a scatter approach and despite similar success with the fake tan, and, mysteriously some wind up bugs, were ordered by team leader Jade to buy lots of everything, even those items not selling so well. Both teams were guilty of forgetting that the winner would be the team with most assets, stock and cash value, at the end of the day and went into a selling frenzy for the last hour.

Sterling's fake tan stole the day and they went off to enjoy some posh cocktails while Phoenix were left drinking tea out of plastic cups in the Bridge Cafe as they waited to explain themselves to Lord Sugar. Fair is fair and Jade held her hands up and accepted blame for her scatter approach straight off. However she couldn't enter the boardroom alone and to everyone's bewilderment returned with Ricky and Azhar. I say bewilderment because Ricky did all the running around buying and Azhar constantly warned Jade they needed a selling strategy. Lord Sugar couldn't understand her choices either and instantly sent Ricky back to the house. Azhar has been the quiet one all through and it was pointed out by Karen that although he often had something sensible to say no one ever listened to him. Still quiet and unable to fight his corner against motormouth Jade, Azhar took one for the team and was fired. Lord Sugar reasoned that he did not want to work with someone nobody listened too, proving once again that the louder you shout the further you get, even if you are talking drivel. Poor Azhar, he really never stood a chance.

The call finally came while we were having a simple early lunch of  cheesy Omelets in anticipation of our dash to London. They apparently had some trouble locating a repair kite making a lie out of my specialist nurse's claim that 'this sort of thing happens all the time', unless it happens so often they've run out of kits that is. So with his guidance I've done a temporary repair to keep dirt, air and nasties out and my drug in. I'm booked in for a proper repair tomorrow which I'm told will take 'minutes at most'. So safe in the knowledge that I'm once more leak proof normal duties resume and I'm off to do my weekly shop, phew!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Don't Just Say It, Do It!

Well the call came at two and after a lengthy discussion the date of 23rd May was set for the dreaded RHC. At least I don't have too long to wait and wind myself up. Two problems though, it is the date of Andrew's first exam so I've had to notify the exams office, and it is slap in the middle of my four days at work. Ah well you can't have everything.

Being unable to relax yesterday I did all the chores instead but didn't get round to my cake making. I now have three days with nothing to do except the weekly dash around Tesco's. So I decided to start again and spent a good hour relaxing in the bath with a book and a bath bomb and this time no phone call cut me short. Then it was on to the computer to answer all the emails I didn't get around to yesterday. Lunch will be a simple pasta, then an afternoon of catching up on my TV programmes awaits. Tomorrow is the Tesco dash and another TV day on Friday. I must try doing all my chores on day one again. It really makes a difference.

In the news it appears Facebook has launched a forum where people can join the Organ Donor register and then have the fact that they are a donor put on their time line. The hope is that this will encourage more donors which is an admirable aspiration. Although I applaud their efforts I can't help wondered how many will join because 'all their friends have' and it is 'a trendy thing to do' without really knowing what it means. Increasing awareness is something to be encouraged and we desperately need more donors but people should not sign up unless they are in full possession of the facts. It should also be noted that you can have the 'Organ Donor' tag added to your time line without actually having signed up to the register which seems a bit pointless to me.

Also in the News the unending saga that is Maddie McCann. It is now thought that Maddie is still alive and living with another family somewhere, probably Europe. There is no real evidence to support this apart from the fact the Portuguese police were a bit slap dash in their original investigation. I'm not going to go through all that happened or what I think happened but I do think there are two points that really need to be thought about.

Firstly how do Maddie's siblings feel to still be on the back burner of their parents minds while they relentlessly grasp every straw that's pushed in front of them. Are the siblings beginning to resent Maddie? Of course the opposite might be true and they have been smothered by overly protective parents. Either way the atmosphere must be damaging no matter how much the parents protest that they are keeping things as normal as possible. And bringing it up year after year cannot be helping matters.

Secondly, if, and it is a big if, Maddie is alive she was taken so young that whoever she is living with now she must regard as her natural parents. How traumatic will it be for her, should she be found, when she is ripped away from all that she loves and is familiar to her and thrust into the arms of strangers? She may not even speak English anymore and so will not even be able to communicate with her real parents. How much is that going to mess up a young mind?

I have been fortunate not to have lost a child in the way the McCann's have but I can understand the need to know what happened, being stuck in limbo must be terrible. However I think the time has come to accept that they may never know what happened and concentrate on the children they are fortunate enough to still have.

Well lunch time approaches time for pasta and Bargin Hunt, you can't beat it.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Sunshine On A Rainy Day

It was a joyous drive into work yesterday. The sun shone, the cherry blossom was in full bloom and fields of rape seed filled the horizon like a bright yellow carpet. It wasn't to last though and seven hours later, on the drive home, clouds began to gather. By the time I settled down to watch Eastenders, the rain was back.

Over the weekend we've had more flood warnings than the county has rivers and countless people ringing up asking if they should evacuate. Of course with the rain there have been plenty of people doing really stupid things so the main problem I've been dealing with is car crashes.

I was really glad that from today I've got four days of rest and relaxation. Although I only worked three days this week, due to hospital appointments, I'm shattered. The last four days off were not exactly restful with three being in hospital and one waiting anxiously for a phone call. So I started today off with a relaxing bath bomb and face mask and just soaked for an hour letting my mind roam where it wished. Then the phone rang and I went rigid, with all the problems at work I'd managed to forget I was waiting on a phone call from Harefield to discuss the dreaded RHC. The call wasn't for me but bang goes any chance of relaxing today.

On Sunday I stumbled across The Voice, I haven't been watching but everyone at work seems to like it so I thought I'd give it a go. Personally I think it should be renamed 'The Scream' most were belting it out with so much force I couldn't even identify the tune.I'll be giving it a miss from now on. When did shouting take over from actual singing?

The BBC have announced that they will be showing non stop Olympics from 0600 - 2300 EVERY SINGLE DAY! They only plan to break for news programmes, and while this happens Olympic coverage will be switched to BBC 2. Ordinary programmes will be 'rested' or switched to BBC 2, though maybe not at their regular times. The BBC then goes on to say that they are not 'pushing the Olympics down viewers throats'. How do they figure that one out? I just hope the weather is good, I'd prefer to sit in the sun with a good book and a glass of something cold.

Talking of disruption, the English Defence League and Unite Against Facism are planning their annual get together in Luton on Saturday, joy!

The cats have finally stopped trying to kill each other but are now leaving little tufts of fur everywhere they go, lethal if your work uniform is mostly black and your cat is mostly white. Peter has to sellotape me down every morning before I leave for work. Unsurprisingly they are not that keen on going out at the moment and spend most of their day asleep on the bed. Yesterday though I went down into the dining room to find Smirnoff stretched out in a narrow patch of sun, seems I'm not the only one missing the opportunity to sunbathe.

Andrew has finally got down to some serious revision and has even asked me to start testing him. I was beginning to worry as he has been so unsettled of late so I am heartily relieved at this change of attitude.

As I still can't get out into the garden, which is beginning to resemble a waterlogged jungle, I've decide to turn my hand to trying another cake. It may not be pretty but it will keep me busy as I wait for the call. I will let you know the results, of both, tomorrow.