Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Don't Let Me Get Me

Well after sleeping almost around the clock, yes another afternoon/evening of unmissable TV missed, I'm feeling a bit better.

My chest still aches and I have a horrible dry cough but my breathing has eased up a bit and I've kept my last two meals down, which is excellent progress. I am really thirsty though and drinking like a drain, which is unlike me but is probably because my mouth and throat feel so dry. My thoughts are now turning towards it being a virus rather than a downturn in the PH. However all possibilities have to be checked out so it is off for tests this afternoon to see what's what and possibly another visit next week if they feel my meds need changing or increasing. This PH is an ever changing condition and I have been fortunate in that I've experienced quite a long period of stability lately. I'm hoping that stability will continue and this is nothing serious.

In my waking moments I've been considering what I might do with myself if I do give up work to stave off boredom. I've thought of maybe doing some voluntary work. Maybe a day or two in a charity shop or I could use my teaching skills and go into schools to help with reading etc. Both are good ideas but both would still expose me to all sorts of bugs and that isn't so good. One of the reasons for giving up work would be to try and protect myself from infection.

Then again I could revive a couple of hobbies. I've already talked about my photography but that is really a hobby I can only do when the weather is good and I'm mobile so not so good for the winter months. I could take up painting again. I used to be very good at it, even if I say so myself, and when younger had several local exhibitions where I managed to sell a few pieces. However I specialised in landscapes so the same problem arises. Add to that the fact that I'm way out of practice and no longer have any materials to muck about with and you can see the problem.

So what about doing another degree? I could go the Open University route and do it at my own pace, I quite fancy Psychology, but there is the cost. Money will be tight if I give up work and £600 plus per unit will be way out of my budget. Besides how would I justify the time, effort and expense when it is doubtful I'd ever get to use the qualification.

So what about evening classes. A possibility but I'm not sure about going out on cold winter nights to sit in an over heated classroom and listen to someone drone on. The classes I'd like to do are beyond me, I tried Tai Chi a couple of years ago and couldn't keep up then so would have no chance now. Besides if I turned up complete with pump and oxygen bottle I'd probably not get inside the door. Learning a language might be good. I have a smattering of Italian and Greek but would love to be fluent and not just be able to ask 'how much' 'when is the time of the next bus please' or 'where is the nearest toilet'. Again what is the point? Italian would certainly come in handy for the job I have now but if I gave up that job would I ever use it?

I know by now some of you are thinking, why don't you just do it for fun? Well yes it would be fun but I do need motivation, a point to it all. That is just the way I am I'm afraid and as you can see I am excellent at talking myself out of things too. I'm sure I'll find something, it's just going to take more thought.

In the news the Savile scandal has finally been knocked off the top slot by Hurricane Sandy.

Wow what a mess it has left behind so far and it is still going. New York in winter is not a nice place to be at the best of times. I know I've been there in February about ten years ago, so I cannot imagine how bad it will be now. Back then the wind was bitter and the hotel we were in 'rocked' in strong gusts. It was quite un-nerving as we were on the 20th floor and I don't like heights. I would have been hysterical if I had been there these last few days. What worries me is that when ever the US has a storm, we tend to get something similar a week or so later. I will be keeping a firm eye on my barometer over the next few days and if it starts to drop I will let you know.

Also in the news are reports that the makers of the Star Wars epics are thinking of making another three films. What? Stop already, you've done it all, there is nothing left you can possible make a film about is there? I admit I am not and never was a Star Wars fan so this news is not something that is going to make me jump up and down with glee. I am of the opinion that sometimes a cash cow can be milked to much. I think this might just be one of those times.

Well better go and get ready. I'll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Considering The Future

This blog is early because I am not well, actually we all know that but at the moment I'm more not well than usual.

I've been feeling 'off' for about three weeks and repeated visits to the GP haven't revealed the usual reasons. My lungs are crisp and clear with no hint of infection or asthma. It could be a virus, there are a lot of those floating around and it is entirely possible for me to have caught one while recovering from another. However he could not be sure as I have no temperature, even though I feel shivery and no other symptoms that give any clue at all. As a precaution he has advised me to get in touch with my PH team to see if there is anything more sinister going on. I have been in touch and am now waiting for them to get back to me.

Naturally my fears are that my medication is failing. As my body seems to reject medications on a regular basis this would not surprise me at all. I went through the same period of bad health eighteen months ago when the Iloprost stopped working. Eighteen months is possibly the longest a medication has worked for me so I have been rather fortunate with the Flolan. Of course it might not be a complete failure, it is more likely that my PH as progressed and I need a stronger dose.

An increase will bring it's own problems. I've already practically given up on eating as I'm continually sick. Too give you an idea yesterday I ate half a bowl of porridge, one four fingered Kitkat, one egg mayo roll and a small bowl of home made tomato soup. Not bad for me except I was sick three times. My GP has told me not to worry about being so sick as he reckons that even if I only keep something down for 20 minutes I'll get some benefit out of it. My weight loss would beg to differ. The sickness tablets work to some extent but if I take anything stronger they turn me into a zombie.

And so the old dilemma of 'where do I go from here' is back again.

As regular readers will know I have been considering giving up work for some time now. This latest development has brought the whole question of whether to stay or go to the fore once more.

I am struggling at the moment. I'm finding it harder to get myself up and about in the mornings, I'm constantly tired and spend the day battling to stay awake. I'm in constant pain, something that is not helped by being sick all the time, and I am no longer enjoying being there. Now I always said I'd know when the time came to finally throw in the towel and I must admit I feel it is closer now than it has ever been. Originally I said I'd stay on until Christmas, now we are about to change our shift patterns just after Christmas and that might be the trigger I need. I don't know what hours/days I am working yet but I fear that I might not be able to cope as whatever happens I will no longer have a four day rest between each shift. So do I bale before Christmas or do I give the new shift pattern a go and see how I get on? I just don't know the answer but I suspect that if my health really has taken a downward turn the decision may well be out of my hands anyway.

Tarmac is much improved and is back to his weird and wonderful self. I spent a lovely hour cuddling him this morning as I read the newspaper in bed. He purred loudly and snuggled really closely, every now and then rolling over for a tummy tickle. In short he's been an absolute joy, I am praying that the vet is wrong.

The weekend was a huge success, Svet and Andrew had a wonderful few days together which were over all too soon. On Sunday Andrew wrote on his face book page that he didn't want to go back to uni that night. I can understand that. It must be so difficult them being so far apart most of the time. On the bright side though Svet will be back in January and Andrew is already planning to spend most of his Easter and summer holidays over in Bulgeria. Between uni and Svet it seems I have finally lost him but I'm pleased that he is doing what he wants with his life as long as he is happy.

Strictly Watch

OK I obviously haven't got a clue when it come to predicting winners.

In my defense who would have thought that Michael would turn the tables so completely? He caught everyone out and the sudden turn around saw two of my favourites in the bottom two.

I was surprised that Colin was one of them but have to admit that Kristina's jumping and crawling all over him is beginning to irritate and get in the way of actual dancing. Sid I'm afraid had to go. Technically it wasn't his fault that he was so awful this week. Having to train with one dancer and then actually perform with another can never be easy and the lack of continuity showed. Ah well at least Colin made it through.

Star of the show had to be Louis, it was just brilliant. I haven't enjoyed a Tango as much in several seasons. I do hope he goes right through to the final. Others that I enjoyed were Victoria and Fern though I thought Fern was a bit tame considering the music she danced too. I was pleased to see Denise did not get universal praise this time as I thought her routine dull and awkward. Lisa was another who let the side down, sooner or later she is going to have to realise that pulling faces and being 'bubbly' only goes so far. Pity after such a promising start.

Bottom two for me next week, actually let's not go there.

There may or may not be a blog tomorrow, depends on whether I will be heading for the Brompton.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Feed The Birds, Tuppence A Bag

Well I should have more faith in people I really should.

An hour late but deeply apologetic my tyre man turned up just seconds before I was going to phone and complain. He'd had problems with his previous customer and couldn't phone me because although he'd copied down my address he hadn't copied my phone number. Phew! My tyres are now all done and my car at least is ready for winter.

Talking of which it was really cold this morning but very sunny and despite the chill the bright blue sky was very welcome. Everything looks so much better when the sun is out. However I am hearing that some parts of the country woke up to a light dusting of snow. Now I love snow if I don't have to go anywhere but as I'm due in work at eight tomorrow morning I'm rather hoping it doesn't spread.

In anticipation of the coming bad weather I spent yesterday cleaning and filling all my bird feeders. I've hung one up in the garden but there doesn't seem to be much interest in it at the moment. I suspect because of the mild damp weather we've had so far there are still plenty of berries, grains and insects floating around. That will change if we get a sudden cold snap though so I thought I'd get myself prepared, just in case.

My cake making didn't happen as Andrew and Svet decided to have some fun in the kitchen. I don't know what they did exactly but they had to wash the floor afterwards. Maybe it's best I don't know. The result was a rather dense cake but it tastes wonderful so I cannot complain, and it saved me a job. Tonight he is taking her out to a posh restaurant for a special meal before she flies back home tomorrow. I, of course, am the taxi for this little venture. Nice to know I still have some uses.

My warfarin book came back in the post and disappointingly my INR has dropped a point so I've got to go back in three weeks instead of the ten I was hoping for. Never mind it is only one point and easy enough to correct. Hopefully next test I'll be back to a ten week gap.

Tarmac is back to his old self and is being a complete nuisance with it. He is doing all the usual stuff, demanding food, trying to get into bed with me in the middle of the night and curling up on my lap in front of the TV and yet there is something not quite right. He has a 'look' about him, I can't really describe it but have seen it on the faces of very ill humans. He definitely is not in any pain but I suspect he must feel there is something not quite right. It doesn't seem to have slowed him down any but I am keeping a very close eye on him. The last thing I want is for him to suffer so the first sign of any pain and I'll be contacting the vet. I just hope it isn't anytime soon.

It is now a month since April was snatched in Machynlleth and there is still no sign of her. The man who is accused of taking her is still refusing to say where he put her and the search has been scaled down. April is no longer news, as the mass evacuation of the media will testify. The village hall that was used as a meeting point for media and search teams alike has returned to its day to day use and all has gone quite. There is still a search though. Locals have had to return to work but in their spare time people are still organising themselves and going out to search the surrounding countryside. Common sense dictates that they are probably searching in vain as the most likely scenario is that she was dumped in the river and is now far out to sea. However the community is not willing to give up just yet. The time will come of course but when no one is willing to say.

Also in the news yet more revelations about Jimmy Savile (I have been spelling his name wrong, sorry) and the growing scandal surrounding his activities at the BBC. Footage has come to light of Savile molesting a girl on air on Top of the Pops while introducing one of the acts. Having seen the footage it seems pretty obvious what is happening though at the time viewers probably though she's been pinched by someone behind her. What makes this footage even more sickening is the knowledge that as soon as the cameras were off her she went to a floor manager and complained. She was told, and I quote,  “Get lost — it's just Jimmy messing about.” Unbelievable isn't it.

Freddie Starr, who has also been accused by one of Savile's victims of groping her is practically begging to be interviewed by police in order to clear himself of the accusation. Who can blame him? I still think he must be innocent because his insistence is not that of a guilty man. However I was wrong about Savile so we all know what my judgement is like.

Strictly is on tonight but I won't be able to write about it as I'm at work tomorrow so I will make my prediction now. Bottom two, Michael and Nicky with Michael to go.

Don't forget the clocks go back tonight, an extra hour in bed.

Next blog Thursday.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Being Let Down

I am pleased to say that Tarmac is much better today. He is demanding food, insisting on cuddles and has even had a brief hiss at Smirnoff. He is so bright eyed and bushy tailed it is hard to believe anything is wrong with him. Long may it continue.

As expected the round trip to Heathrow was absolute hell. It was OK going but coming back was a nightmare. Not so much because of the weight of traffic but because of the newly installed variable speed limit. The limit went from sixty to forty and back up to sixty again all in the space of a junction. And it kept doing it all the way along the M4, M25 and M1. Cars were breaking, then speeding up only to suddenly have to break again. I saw countless near misses, especially from lorries and began to feel really unsafe. I have never seen such danger and I've been whizzing up and down these motorways for twenty years or more. Whoever thought variable speed limits on a motorway was a good thing needs their head sorted. It caused more congestion, not less and almost resulted in a multiple pile up more than once. In the end I had enough and got off to continue my journey on normal roads. I don't know if I got home any quicker but it was a hell of a lot safer.

Once home I left the showing to the room and offering of food to Andrew and Peter and went straight upstairs to do my drugs. By the time I'd finished everyone was fed and watered and settled. Peter took pity on me and brought me a cup of tea with a straw in it so I could drink and stay sterile. Then we all gathered to watch the new Red Dwarf before I headed to bed early, absolutely shattered. I think next time I will offer to drive there rather than back.

After two rather hectic days I going to take it easy and join Andrew and Svet on the settee to watch a film this afternoon but first I've got some baking to do. Yes I'm going to make another attempt at a cake but this time I'm sticking with one I've had success with before so am fairly confident I won't make a complete mess of it.

Well it is quarter past ten and my tyre man was supposed to be here at ten. I am beginning to get the feeling that he's not interested and I'm being given the run around. Yes he may just be running late but I'm not that convinced. It looks like I might have to haul the tyres into the boot and go and sit in a smelly, cold waiting room after all.

My neighbour has renewed his war on commuters parking outside his house by parking his own car on the road instead of on his drive. He did this yesterday but didn't park centrally enough and so a cheeky driver managed to squeeze his fiesta into the gap. Today my neighbour has made sure by parking completely in the middle and so far it seems to be working. He will keep his car there until around eleven and then move his car back onto the drive until Monday. I don't know why he insists on doing this but it is his petrol and time he's wasting and it is quite amusing to watch.

I have decided not to do a pumpkin carving this year. It is a lot of effort and with the kids now grown up there is little point. I did buy an enormous bucket of lollies for the trick or treaters though and am happily munching my way through all my favourites. I don't normally buy sweets so Halloween is the once excuse I have left and I'm not willing to give it up just yet.

Well I'd better go. I'm going to yell at my tyre man and then try and find a garage that will agree to fit tyres they haven't sold me. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Preparing To Say Goodbye

Tarmac is dying.

My beautiful, soft furred, affectionate little cat has liver cancer. He has been off his food for the last couple of days and has been looking rather sorry for himself so yesterday afternoon I took him to see the vet. He was diagnosed with a bug and given two lots of antibiotics, then we were told the bad news. While examining him the vet discovered a lump on his liver, a big lump. I was aghast, how did I miss something like that? Well apparently it is easy to do. Apart from losing a bit of weight and the occasional vomiting session hes been his lovely, mad, lively self. Racing up and down the stairs, fighting with Smirnoff and waking me up in the middle of the night for a cuddle when he's come in soaking wet. I can't tell you how shocked I am, and how guilty, if only I'd taken him to the vet sooner. However liver cancer in cats is difficult to detect until it is more or less beyond treatment. I am assured that he is not in any pain but also warned that he really only has a few weeks left, days if the antibiotics don't work and he doesn't eat something soon. I am bereft.

Today he is a lot perkier and got up on the bed this morning to nudge me awake and then curled up with his head on my shoulder while he waited for me to get up and feed him. I was delighted when he raced down the stairs in front of me, as he usually does, and when I found the food gone from last night. I put a fresh meal down and he gobbled enthusiastically and is now sleeping it off under the rocking chair. He cannot be operated on and the only treatment would be chemo, which would extend his life but would be extremely unpleasant. At the age of fourteen I don't want to put him through all the pain and discomfort such treament would entail. The vet wants me to ring him on Friday to give him an update and to decide what to do. While he is not in any discomfort I want to keep him for as long as I can. I would prefer he die at home, in his sleep, in a place he knows rather than in the cold hard surgery where he would be scared stiff. If that can be achieved then I will happy, well not happy exactly but I'm sure you know what I mean.

The big clean up is finished and the spare room looks lovely, it was a bit of tip as Peter had put all his tools in there whilst working on the bathroom and hadn't yet cleared them out. All that is left is to make up the bed and it will be perfect.

This afternoon we are facing a trip to Heathrow to pick Andrew's girlfriend up and I bet you can't guess when. Yes! Right in the middle of rush hour. I am fully prepared to be held up on both the M1 and the M25 in both directions. Don't get me wrong, she's a really nice girl but rush hour! Really?

In the news the Saville scandal just keeps growing and growing. I read a story in one of the newspapers that claimed that one of the senior aids in Downing Street was also part of Saville's group. Where is it going to end?

This morning I have once again arranged to have my tyres changed ready for winter.

I buy my tyres online and then get a mobile fitter to come and put them on for me. This is not only cheaper than going to a garage but means I can sit in my warm dry living room instead of a filthy, cold waiting room filled with car magazines. I was supposed to have them done last Friday but he never turned up. I rang him up asking why and it turns out his dippy assistant had put the appointment down on the wrong day and he thought he was coming this Friday. As it turns out this suits me fine so I've kept it.

As I write wonderful aroma's are wafting up from my kitchen. I'm trying a new recipe for Beef and Beer casserole in my slow cooker. I've done this many times before in the oven but not in the slow cooker, so this is a bit of an experiment. It certainly smells absolutely delicious, I just hope it tastes as good.

Well I'd better go. I've still got to make up the bed in spare room and then check on Tarmac. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Fog On The Tyne Is All Mine, All Mine

What dreadful weather we are having at the moment. Three days straight of thick fog and drizzle. It made for some very interesting journeys to and from work though and gave me the chance to try my fog lights for the first time this winter.

This morning I woke up to even thicker fog and the realisation that I couldn't lounge about in bed with the papers as I had to attend the Warfarin clinic. Now I really shouldn't moan, this will be my first test in ten weeks as I've been really stable of late but I really didn't want to go out in this sort of weather, again. However I knew that putting it off would only mean I had it hanging around my neck like a lead weight and would earn me a ticking off from the rather stern and scary receptionist. So I bit the bullet and went deciding I would combine the appointment with a trip to Tesco's to stock up for Andrew's girlfriend who is visiting for a few days. I'm glad I went now as I was richly rewarded with possibly the best natural comedy I've witnessed this year.

My usual group of old ladies were not there as I'd arrive a bit early for them so I settled myself down behind another group of pensioners consisting of two men and three women. I quickly established that they were of Irish descent and they were discussing the Saville scandal. I came in late to the conversation but this is what I heard.

Lady 1 : 'Well he always did dress funny.'
Lady 2 : 'Yes, you can always tell those sort of people by their clothes'
Man 1 : 'What sort of people?'
L1 : 'Funny people Ken, you know those paedophilliacs.'
Ken : 'Paedophilliacs? Don't they have something wrong with their blood?'
L1 : 'No, no those are something different.I mean those people that grab kids and do things with them.'
Ken : ' What things?'
L1 : 'These things.' At which point she ran her hand up Ken's thigh.
Ken : 'Oh I liked that Marcia, do that again.'

The group collapsed into hoots of laughter and I had great difficulty resisting the urge to join in.

Lady 3 didn't seem to approve of the way the conversation was going to attempted to steer it back to safer ground such as her latest replacement bit. It seemed that the group were part human part machine by the list of hips, knees and teeth that had been replaced. I was about to discover the cause of the replacement knee, which was giving her 'gip' because of the wet weather, when I was called in to see the nurse.

Blood done we then headed to Tesco which for once was fairly quiet. Andrew's girlfriend from Bulgeria is coming for a brief stay on Thursday so I wanted to make sure there was plenty in the cupboards as last time she was here they went through crisps and apples like wildfire.

Back home it was the great clear up. Don't get the wrong impression, my house is not dirty by any stretch of the imagination but it does tend to be a bit untidy. I also cannot move furniture around when vacuuming so under the settee, for instance, doesn't get done as often as I'd like so when I know someone is coming over I get Peter to do it for me while I tackle the lighter jobs such as cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen. I have just squirted some 'no scrub' cleaner all over the bath and shower and am taking ten minutes out to write this up while it does what it does.

In the news I stayed up on Monday to watch the Panorama programme on Saville and what the BBC knew about him. It truly was an eye opener and I have no doubt in my mind that he did do all those things. I still cannot get why he was allowed to get away with it though.

Strictly Watch

Well this week I called the bottom two correctly, however I chose the wrong couple to be going. I was convinced Michael was out the door. I don't think he'll last much longer though, not unless one of the other couples have an absolute horror of a week.

My favourite this week has to be Colin, his dance was polished and controlled and actually pretty sexy though I could have done without Kristina crawling all over him as though he were a set of gym bars. I felt really sorry for Sid, he looked uncomfortable from the off and that ridiculous wig did absolutely nothing for him. Victoria got into a bit of a twist and flashed her knickers while Lisa leaped about as though she was being electrocuted. Denise was irritating, as usual, and Kimberley managed to get through the whole show without trembling that bottom lip once.

I will miss Anton as, not only is he a good dancer but he is witty as well but Jerry was never going to put in the effort to make it all the way. I do hope they get Anton to stand in for Bruce when he takes his rest week. Talking of Bruce's rest week, I see the doom and gloom merchants are out muttering about his age and his health. If I had one tenth of Bruce's energy or good health I'd be a very happy girl and at 84, if he wants a rest he can have one.

Well must go and see if the bathroom cleaner has done what it says on the can, then it's off to do the kitchen.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Beware The Bogie Man

I have been reading the latest hysteria over welfare cuts, particularly those for the disabled.

With Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit due be switched to the new universal system in the next twelve months the scaremongers have once again been out in force. If you believe what they tell you every disabled person in the country will be starving, cold and homeless by this time next year. Well I don't believe this is going to be the case at all.

Yes some will have their benefits cut or stopped but some will find their benefits increased while the majority will stay exactly the same. In the short term claimants will not notice a difference. The changes, if there are to be any, will take place during the regular reassessment that every disabled person has to go through for current benefits.

At the moment every three - five years disabled people have to reapply for their benefits. For the majority things stay the same, for some their condition has worsened and so they get an increase. For some their condition has improved and so their benefits are cut or removed. This is a fare system but as we all know is open to abuse. Because the majority of renewals are done online and the claimant is never seen by a doctor or assessor during that process, the claimant can claim to be just as ill as they were on the previous application. Yes the majority of claims have to be accompanied by additional paperwork but not all so some people can go for years without being seen or having their claim challenged. With the new system everyone will have to see an assessor during the renewal process and this is where the scare stories begin.

As with all new systems there have been some horrendous mistakes but this is a huge reform and mistakes are all part of the process, distressing if the mistake happens to you granted, but without mistakes refinements cannot be made and lessons cannot be learned. However also in the papers, and receiving much less attention, are the stories of the cheaters, the football coach who cannot walk or dress himself but is capable of running a touch line for two hours every week. The woman with crippling back pain filmed carrying huge bags of shopping from the boot of her car, both claiming the top rate of benefit and supposedly unable to work. We have to have balance and hear both sides of an argument before making judgment.

I receive a high level of benefit which I use to pay for the care and technology that helps me to continue as normal a life as possible. I am lucky in that I am still capable of working, though for how long I don't know, and I think, if asked, the majority of genuinely disabled people would love to be able to go out to work. Work gives you dignity and a sense of purpose, it also means you are contributing to the system that is supporting you. So it really pisses me off, excuse my French, when I hear about people getting similar benefits as me because they like to drink themselves into a stupor everyday or use it to pay off their drug dealers. These are the people that this new system will be getting rid of. Far from 'forcing' children with cancer to go out and earn a crust, it is designed to help those who are willing to help themselves. No longer will you be allowed to claim disability for drink or drug problems without agreeing to rehab. Personally I think this is a good thing, why should I drag myself to work everyday so that my taxes can pay for some scum bag who ditches his wheelchair for a pool in Monaco every summer all paid for by DLA?

Also in the paper today was an absolutely brilliant cartoon of a man on a bike waving an umbrella whilst riding  towards some iron gates. Surrounding the gates are several fat policemen, why are policemen always fat in cartoons, armed to the teeth with tasers. Underneath is the line...

'Right, lads. Here comes Andrew Mitchell now - and oh my goodness! Isn't that a samurai sword he's carrying?'

Two news stories summed up in one sentence, absolute genius.

Today I am waiting for Andrew to come home. His girlfriend from Bulgeria is paying a visit next weekend and we have to make arrangements as to who is picking her up from the airport, who is taking her back etc, etc. Such things are difficult to discuss via text, email or facebook so he is coming home to make sure Ma and Pa don't mess things up. Anyone would think we were totally incapable of any form of organisation without his input. It is not as though I ever ran a house, brought up two kids, worked a full time job and did a university degree all at the same time or anything.

It was drug delivery day today and my supplier has excelled themselves. I change my line dressing every three days so in an average month I need about ten dressings. How many did they send me? One! Yet another afternoon on the phone trying to explain why one is not enough.

Well it is back to work tomorrow, I am feeling better so will give it a go though any attempt at a full day may have to take a back seat for a while until I've shaken whatever it is I cauught.

Next blog Wednesday (unless the bug makes a reappearance that is).

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Expect The Unexpected.

There was good news this morning. The University of Sheffield has discovered a possible treatment for PH that will not only halt the disease in its tracks but reverse it. How wonderful! And it is all down to little things called antibodies. Of course the PH community are abuzz with excitement but sadly those of us already on the journey are unlikely to benefit as so far the only tests have been on mice and rats and clinical trials on humans are still 'several years' away. Still the news signals a possible end to this horrible illness and that is good enough for me.

Yesterday I paid an unexpected visit to Laurence. He needed some brackets put up and asked his father for help. I was reluctant to go at first as I wasn't feeling good but Peter pointed out that I could lie on the settee watching crap at Laurence's just as well as I could at home. Agreeing he had a point I soon found myself bundled into the front seat of the car and off we went. As usual Peter was right and getting out made me feel a whole lot better. We went the scenic route through Bedford and up the A6 and it was lovely.

The trees have yet to lose their leaves but have started to change colour and in the sun sparkled like jewels. Bedfordshire tends get a bit of bad press. Yes there is a lot to dislike but on a warm autumn day some of it is stunning. It wasn't long before we'd pulled up outside Laurence's house where I was ushered into the living room, given the remote and a cup of Earl Grey and left to it while they disappeared upstairs with all manner of tools.

After an hour and a lot of noise they reemerged and we were offered cake before heading back home. It was dark by the time we left and heading down the M1 we noticed it had become very wet but was not raining. We were just pulling into our village when they was a huge flash that lit up the whole sky, unbeknown to us we'd just managed to miss one hell of a storm. Damn! I loved storms and we haven't had many this year.

Two thing happened yesterday which came out of the blue but cheered me up enormously.

First a good friend of mine got in touch and suggested a meet up. We've known each other since the 80's but pressure of work, family life and now my condition means that we don't get together as often as either of us would like. She has suggested a get together over the half term holiday and I can't wait to see her, we have so much catching up to do.

The second surprise was that my first choice of proof reader for my blog book agreed without hesitation. Brilliant! That is one hurdle cleared now all I've got to do is put it together. I've made a good start but it is slow going because every entry has to be checked and double check for spelling, punctuation and of course content. I want to be honest, as I am on here but I don't want to bore people to death with constant moaning about how ill I am either. Hopefully my proof reader will ensure that doesn't happen.

My info pack for Papworth arrived this morning and it's HUGE. It is going to take me a week to get through it, still better than walking into the unknown I suppose.

The Jimmy Saville story just won't go away and today we have news reporter Jon Simpson claiming that he witnessed, or knew of, abuse by a well liked children's presenter. He claims to have brought it to the attention of one of his bosses who told him to forget about it, calling him stupid for his troubles. Now I'm having difficulty with this particular story. We are talking Jon Simpson the man who fearlessly reports from war ravaged cities and disaster zones and has been routinely shot at and bombed for his troubles. I think he has even been injured at one time. He does not sound like a shrinking violet to me so why did he not press his claim at the time? Could it be that once again we have a person who put their career before the safety of little children? If so shouldn't he face the music along with the person he is accusing? Ah hang on a minute, the person he's accusing, whose name I have yet to discover, can't defend himself because he died back in 1967. What a surprise! I'm beginning to wonder if there was anyone at the BBC who wasn't a victim, offender or witness.

Peter is at work this afternoon so I'm free to misbehave but I think I might be a good girl for once and rest up in the hope of seeing off the rest of this bug. I'm feeling a lot better, the awful dizzy spells and nausea have gone and I'm left with a sore throat, slight cough and the usual tight chested feeling that is a feature of everything I catch. I think I'm going to have to cry off my pneumonia jab and rebook it, again, as it probably isn't wise to have more bugs pumped into you when your immune system is already under attack.

Tomorrow I'm having new tyres fitted to my car ready for winter. Joy!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Oh gosh I wish I knew what was wrong with my head. Yesterday every time I stood up, turned my head quickly or bent down I was overcome by a spinning feeling and nausea. Today I was able to open my eyes on waking without the room spinning but standing up still makes me dizzy. I had a few more shivering sessions last night but overall things are looking better so far. Having said that my appetite is non existent at the moment so maybe this light headedness is in part down to that. Yesterday I survived on about a gallon of tea, a small bowl of soup and a packet of crisps. So much for putting weight on, I hate to think how much I'm going to lose before I recover from this. One step forward, fifteen back!

Peter's parcel finally got delivered yesterday and the mystery as to why neither myself or my neighbour heard anything on the previous attempts became clear. Despite having a perfectly good and obvious doorbell and brass door knocker this chap chose to rap briefly on the door frame with his knuckles. The only reason we heard him this time is because we spotted the van pulling up outside. He then had the cheek to complain that he'd been trying to deliver the parcel for over a month, which was odd as we know for a fact it was only sent out last Tuesday.

I have decided to take up a suggestion put to me by several people over the last few months and am putting together a book of the most popular blogs from the last couple of years. As regular readers know I already have a book that is doing quite well but is only available on kindle, this will be entirely different. Someone once said to me, after a disastrous attempt at science fiction, that I should write about what I know. This is obviously complete nonsense otherwise all our best crime writers would be doing time for serial murder but I have decided to take this advice to heart and am now putting things together to see what happens. If nothing else it will give me something to do during the winter when, even with my trike, it is going to be difficult to go out. And, if successful, I hope it will raise a substantial amount of money to be put towards finding a cure for this terrible illness and prevent others from suffering as I have. I'll keep you posted.

At last a politician has had the courage to say 'no' to America.

This is the story of Gary McKinnon who has just been told that he will not be extradited to the US to face charges of computer hacking.

Gary has severe mental health issues and suffers from Asperger's Syndrome a condition that can make sufferers become obsessed with things or ideas. Approximately ten years ago Gary was obsessed with finding out all he could about 'little green men' and set about trawling the Internet for information. During his investigation he somehow managed to 'hack' into a computer at the Pentagon. Gary was not intent on doing any damage, he just wanted to know what they knew and there is some doubt that he even realised what he was doing was wrong. When the US found out they pursued him with the same sort of frightening determination as they did Abu Hamza and his cronies. 

The American's are said to be furious that they are to be denied their prey but so what. It is about time we started to put our foot down from time to time. Should the situation have been reversed would the American's have calmly handed over one of their citizens to be tried through British courts? I doubt it very much even though British prisons tend to be more humane than the US versions. Gary would never have survived an American jail and would probably have died before his case could even be brought to court. The American legal system is never in any hurry to say the least.

So, and I never thought I'd be saying this, well done Theresa May. And just one more small point shouldn't the American's be spending their time and energy trying to find out how a mentally ill man managed to get in to, what should be, the most secure computer in the world from a PC in his bedroom in a British suburban house?

As expected Dave Lee Travis has come out fighting after being accused of groping a female news reader at the BBC amid the growing scandal over Jimmy Saville. He says he would welcome a court trial as he wants the chance to prove that the woman's claims are a complete fabrication. These are the words of a man who is secure in his belief that he is completely innocent.  I hope the reason he is so sure of himself is because he is completely innocent.

I watched a man jump out of a small metal capsule twenty four miles above the earth on Sunday evening. Being scared of heights my stomach lurched when we got the view of him standing on the small platform before he jumped. As he jumped I said to Peter 'They will cut the feed won't they if anything goes wrong'? I was all too aware that I might just have seen someone leap to their death. As it happens he landed safe and well on his feet a few minutes later having broken the sound barrier. That is one in the eye of the Victorian scientists who believed man would suffer terrible damage to his internal organs if he travelled any faster than ten miles per hour.

Yesterday I read that there was indeed a twenty second delay on the live feed as if anything had gone wrong Felix Baumgartner's blood would have left his body via his eyes and he would have died. Not the sort of thing I wanted to read over my early morning cuppa. This is one of those occasions where if he'd failed he would have gone down in history as an idiot and probably appeared in one of Horrible Histories Stupid Deaths slots. As it is he is now a hero of his time and his place in history will be secure. Personally I think he is a nut, one hell of a brave nut but a nut nevertheless.

Well got to go, time for another dose of honey and lemon and a read of this mornings papers.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I've Got The Shivers And The Shakes

To those I upset this week with my thoughtless comments I am truly sorry. I never meant to upset, embarrass or distress you. What I said was said without thinking and there was no malice intended. Please accept my unequivocal apologies, I hope you will one day be able to forgive me and we can return to normal.

I am my own worst enemy.

Despite only three hours sleep Sunday night, feeling distinctly weird in the shower and not being able to face breakfast what did I do? Well I got up at six and went to work of course. Idiot! Naturally I didn't tell anyone how shattered I was until I realised there was no way I was going to make it through to six that afternoon and left early. It seems that despite my paranoid rubbing down of my chair, keyboard, mouse, phone, desk and monitor with alcohol wipes and the gallons of anti-bacterial hand wash I've caught something. By the time I got home I was alternating between boiling and shivering and despite, or maybe because, I only managed half my sandwich at lunch time, distinctly nauseous. I was especially cross because I was supposed to be doing a full day again. Oh well I'll just have to try again when I'm feeling better. Of course I could well have picked this up from anywhere not just work but you can't alcohol wipe the whole world.

I had a hot bath and then checked my line entry site for any signs of infection. Thankfully it was clean and dry with no signs of redness or weeping. Satisfied that I wasn't going to have to go screaming into A&E for some intravenous antibiotics I re-dressed it and got into my pj's. Wrapped in a blanket I made a huge mug of tea and headed for the settee where I stayed all evening, only getting up to refresh my mug alternating with hot honey and lemon and a large dose of paracetamol. By ten I'd added a duvet to the mix and my teeth were chattering and I was thinking 'flu'. It would, of course, be just like me to get flu three weeks after being vaccinated for it.

This morning I woke up feeling as though I'd been punched in the face and dizzy. Another bath and several cups of tea later I'm feeling rough but not as bad as I'd thought. I have a horrible throat and a thumping head but so far today no shivers. I was supposed to be going to the warfarin clinic but I've had to cancel. The receptionist started to argue, because it is ten weeks since my last test, but when I said flu she changed her tune and I'm now booked in for next Wednesday. I am due my pneumonia jab on Friday, ever the optimist I haven't cancelled that yet, I'll see how I am on Thursday. If it is the flu then it is a mild dose, but I'm inclined to think it might just be a bug. We will see.

The search for little April is now being scaled down There is still a sizable presence though and of course the locals are still going out as often as they can and combing every inch of the surrounding area. How awful for her parents, not knowing must be ten times worse than being told of her death. In their hearts they must know of course but the glimmer of hope will remain for years to come.

The Jimmy Saville scandal has now moved from the sublime to the ridiculous.

At the start of the scandal he was still referred to as Sir Jimmy Saville, then he became Jimmy Saville and now he is just plain Saville. His gravestone has been taken down and broken up and some are even calling for him to be dug up and reburied in unhallowed ground. I'm sorry but is this thirst for revenge going a bit far now, if not becoming a bit bazaar? How is any of this going to help his alleged victims? And please do remember none of this has been proved yet and no trial has taken place.

Every day more and more 'victims' are adding their voices. Is it just me who thinks this is all just a little bit weird? All those people and in fifty years no one said ANYTHING? How is that even possible? Was Jimmy Saville God?

Now more accusations have started to come out regarding the other DJ's around at the time.

John Peel (also dead and unable to defend himself) has been accused of getting a fifteen year old pregnant. A letter has been produced as proof but doesn't actually say too much. And mow a newsreader has come forward to claim that Dave Lee Travis aka The Hairy Cornflake molested her in the studio. Now I may be wrong here but I'm betting that, especially in the '70's and '80's, you don't get far in TV without being able to hold your own and frankly being a bit of a hard nut, so why has she only mentioned this now? Call me cynical but could it possibly have anything to do with raising the profile of a fading career? At least DLT is still able to give his side of the story which I suspect will be a 'it never happened'.

There is one high profile casualty so far though. Esther Rantzen looks as though she is going to lose her reputation as protector of children, consumer campaigner and all round good guy as several charities prepare to ditch her, including Childline which she set up. This is something I do agree with as if she saw what she says she saw she should have said something. Yes I know Esther claims she did and was ignored but the persona she has cultivated is one of dogged determination and so one would have expected her to persevere until she was taken seriously. It sounds very like she was protecting her career and if so her actions were shameful to say the least.

Will we ever know exactly what went on, I doubt it. Will anyone be punished? Well clearly not the main alleged offender. All I know for sure is this is going to rumble on for many, many months, if not years.

Strictly Watch

Well I got that wrong!

My favourite of the night ended up in the bottom two, shows how much I know. The two who I thought were certain to go didn't even get into the dance off. Instead it was Richard and poor old Johnny who were left to face the judges.

I am really pleased the judges have the final decision again as there is no doubt that fan base makes a difference. At least the judges can chose who actually walks off on ability. I was sad to see Johnny go as he was far from the worst dancer of the night.Unfortunately he was the oldest, and his fate was sealed. Yes he probably would not have been as fast and athletic in the Latin dances but he had style.

As for the X Factor, which I am still not watching, I hear that once again a talented singer was voted off in favour of a hysterical showman who is all glitter and no gold. Seems that producers had words with the judges before the show this time.

Well time for more paracetamol and tea, Looking forward to an afternoon nap already.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Strictly Shattered.

I am still on a high after my visit to Papworth and I keep getting surges of joy and hope which frighten me a bit as I'm not used to them. I have managed to reign myself in a bit but still find myself grinning like an idiot when ever anyone says anything.

I was late coming home last night having got caught up on a complicated call five minutes before I was due to leave so i was less than impressed to find one of the cats had been sick in the middle of the living room. Having cleared up I decided to get things out of the way by doing my drug routine about 30 minutes early. This meant I could settle in front of the TV to watch an uninterupted evening of Strictly followed by the qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix. It was gone eleven by the time I hit my pillow and almost nine when I woke up this morning.

Peter has had a frustrating few days as well. He is expecting delivery of an important package but as yet it hasn't arrived. Well actually it did but was taken away again.

On Thursday I was sitting in the living room watching the lunchtime news when I heard something come through the letter box. Thinking it was junk, we get a lot of that, I waited until the item I was interested in was over before going to check what it was. To my utter astonishment I found a card from the deliver company saying they had tried to make the delivery but no one was in. I open the front door in time to see a van hurtling down the street. I was furious! He hadn't even rung the doorbell so how could he say no one was in? Having read the card again it said they would try to deliver on Friday and if we were going to be out to indicate where we wanted the parcel put and pin the card to the door.

We were both going to be out so we asked our neighbour if she was going to be in and she was, all day. Friday came and around midday my neighbour walked from the living room to the kitchen to make herself some lunch and found a card on the doorstep saying exactly the same as it had on Thursday. Again she didn't hear anyone knock or ring the doorbell.

Unfortunately we were both home too late to ring the company and complain so Peter is gearing himself up for a fight on Monday.

So back to Strictly.

It is the first week of the vote off and my money is on Michael Vaughan. The man is as stiff as a poker and has more than just two left feet. I cringed when watching him which is pity as he seems like a lovely bloke. Jerry Hall is my other candidate as the years of modelling and 'standing straight' means she is not at all flexible and so comes across as really stiff. Jerry doing the jive? Something I'd rather not see thanks.

Stand outs for me this week were Richard who was a hoot. Colin, Louis and Sid also hit the spot with me if not with the judges. I was glad that Victoria Pendleton did so much better this week and I think has saved herself from getting booted this week. Lisa was good but I think she suits the Latin dances better as she came across a bit flat this week. Everyone else was rather mediocre, which usually happens on the second dance, except perhaps Denise. She is this series 'must go' figure for me. She is immensely unlikable, smug just doesn't cover it, but unfortunately I had to admit her jive was very good. I fear she is going to be with us a few more weeks yet but I don't think she is going to win. I haven't quite worked out who yet but I think Colin and Louis are definitely in the running.

So I'm now off to make lunch and then Peter and I are going to settle down and watch the recording of today's GP. We could have got up to watch it live at six o'clock this morning but that was never going to happen, especially as I have to be up at six for work tomorrow. There is only so much a girl can take.

Next blog Tuesday. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Hold Me Back

Last rest day and then back to work tomorrow, doesn't time fly when you are having fun.

I'm on my own today so have been misbehaving and have vacuumed and mopped the floors, done the ironing and cleaned the bathroom and kitchen. This afternoon will be spent on the settee watching TV and not feeling one iota of guilt. My problem is that when I'm feeling really well, as I am at the moment, I take the opportunity to do everything I can't do normally. I know it is naughty and I'd probably stay well longer if I didn't but I can't help myself. I can't just sit and look at the pile of dishes in the sink or the muddy paw prints in the hall. I know this feeling isn't going to last for long, next week I could well be suffering from a cold or worse so I do what I can when I can.

Actually it won't be all afternoon. We are both at work all day tomorrow and are expected home within half an hour of each other so I'm going to be chopping veggies for the slow cooker so we can have a nice warming stew for tea. I've had my slow cooker since my grandmother gave it to me when I got married and I've barely used it so I've decided this winter things will change and I'm going to cook lots of yummy things in it. It will be nice to come home from a hell of a day and have something warm and comforting without having to do anything more than stir and serve. It might help with me gain a bit of weight too.

World war three has erupted on the PH forum again. It amazes me how one small innocuous comment can spark a row that includes name calling and personal insults. Especially on a forum which is supposed to be supportive. I will just read and not comment, it is just not worth the aggravation. I am sad to see that the same names are cropping up, again. It seems there are still people who despite telling everyone we are all different all the time still believe that their's are the only opinions that count.

My search for car insurance goes on and I am fuming!

My current insurer sent me a quote for renewal of £306. Out of curiosity I went onto their website and put in exactly the same details they had listed on the renewal and got a quote of £256, how does that work? Needless to say they are going to get a call asking them to explain themselves. The earlier quotes of £170 that I'd got on a comparison site, on closer inspection, don't hold up. They exclude things like legal cover and courtesy car both of which are included on my current policy. Once I've added those things in, I mean in this day and age would you really risk not having legal cover, the quote is nearer the £250 - £280 mark. Insurance companies are so bloody sneaky, I absolutely hate having to do this every year I really do.

I fear I might have to embrace technology soon. I have seen and fallen for a phone, unfortunately it is a touch screen, something I have never got on with. Having played with Peter's phone I have long since decided that touch screens are the devil's work. I spend ages tapping, stroking and jabbing at it and it does nothing. I breath on it and it deletes several unread texts and connects itself to to the Internet and refuses to be unconnected. It took Peter almost half an hour to undo the damage I'd caused.

Now this phone is calling to me, it is absolutely determined to be mine. It tempts me with promises of unlimited texts, 1GB of free downloads and more air time than I'd ever use and all for £12.50 a month. How can I resist? I don't know but I'm going to give it a bloody good try because I know that if I bought it I'd be close to a nervous breakdown within half a day.

Well got to go and get some lunch and then settle down with the Vicar of Dibley, box set of course. Well they say laughter is the best medicine.

Next blog Sunday

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Hope Springs Eternal

Thank you everyone for all the kind comments following yesterday's blog. Good news is multiplied when shared.

Well after all the excitement and fear of Monday I finally got a really good night's sleep. I was up early though and decided to tackle the weekly shop first thing so I could relax for the rest of the day. Still buoyed by my good news and feeling really well I forsook my trike and went on foot. I didn't appear to suffer any ill effects though I put my oxygen on and will be taking is easy this afternoon. I maybe well now but I need to stay that way and build myself up for the assessment. I'm still so excited, I'm hopping around like a giddy school girl and try as I might the cautionary me just can't reign myself in. It is definitely a truism that you don't know how important something is to you until you are told you cannot have it.

Before being turned down by Harefield I'd scared myself silly thinking I might die during the operation and if I didn't how much pain there is going to be during and after. I'd all but convinced myself that I was better off as I am. Then when they turned me down my whole world fell in and all I could see was a long, drawn out, painful death and the knowledge that I was never going to feel any better than I do now was almost too much to bare. Now there is hope, OK, still a slim hope but I am an optimist at heart and tend to believe things will get better  eventually. So I'm going to enjoy this feeling while is lasts. Plenty of time to feel miserable if the worst does happen.

My arm where I had my flu jab is still red though the swelling and itching have now gone. I'm due a pneumonia jab next week, I just hope they don't stick it in the same arm.

The Saville row continues and now there are claims that the abuse had gone on for fifty years. Fifty years! And during all that time no one say anything! I for one find that so hard to believe, what did this man have over everyone? Surely no one is THAT powerful? His much vaunted triple headstone has been taken down, broken up and sent to landfill while roads are being renamed and charities are busy trying to dissociate themselves from his name. Isn't this all be bit premature? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? OK so there are a lot of rumours and claims and new claims are coming to light everyday but at this stage all they are are rumours and claims. While some may well be true some might just be jumping on the band waggon to see what they might get out of it. After all Saville isn't going to be able to prove their claims right or wrong is he. I have to say I find the whole thing very worrying and distasteful. I am glad the police are launching an investigation but I do hope they investigate each claim very, very carefully. Yes they will have to be sensitive but they must keep in mind that some might just be making these claims to get themselves noticed.

Sadly hope for April has all but gone and although the police have vowed to keep on searching they can't possibly justify the level of manpower for very much longer. I notice that the news reports on progress are fewer and her story has been knocked off the front pages of the news papers and no longer dominates news bulletins. It is very sad that April's fate is no longer as important as what an idiot of a politician may have said at a conference but unfortunately the world marches on and soon enough there will be another horror story to grab the nations attention. I hope she is found for her parents sake but if they are hoping that Mark Bridger will ever reveal where she is they are in for a long wait. Either he is protecting someone or he mistakenly believes no body means no conviction.

Well it's that time of year again when I try not to get myself ripped off by the car insurance people. The renewal notice quoted by my current insurer is almost £150 more than most of the quotes I've brought up on a comparison sight. It annoys me that I have to go through this every year because insurance companies are just not interested in loyalty and therefore make no effort to keep customers. I have a 15 year no claims discount so you'd have though they'd want to snap me up wouldn't you but no sadly that is not the case. Oh well better get on with my afternoon of looking for the best deal.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Maybe Baby

Well the trip to Papworth was a lot better than I though it would be. They all seem really, really nice and were very sympathetic to what I'd been through with Harefield.

After lots of talking and a mini consult between registrar, consultant and surgeon I was lead into a room and told that they were happy to move onto the next stage which is the full assessment. There are some issues with doing just a lung transplant as my plumbing isn't quite normal but it is not impossible. So the plan is to assess me for both lung and heart/lung with a view to putting me on the list for one or the other or both. I am pencilled in for the assessment on 26th November but they are trying to find me an earlier slot as they think I've been messed about enough this year. They have promised they will not let me leave the hospital after the assessment without knowing the result and if that means keeping me in an extra day to repeat a test or do an extra one then that's what they will do. I am glad about this as it means I can ask questions and really understand why a decision has been made, something I didn't get to do with the brief call I got from Harefield.

All in all I'm happy with how things went, I was on top of the world coming out of there as I was convinced they were going to say no there and then. I'm trying very hard to to be excited right now but I can't help myself. Time enough for doubts and worries during the assessment, for now I'm going to enjoy the first real feeling of hope I've had for a long time.

Whilst waiting for my appointment I had the immense pleasure of meeting fellow PH sufferer Kath. We have exchanged comments, views and banter on the PH forums for some time but never met. She is a really lovely lady and has been through a similar journey to myself, especially the problems with the Flolan. Just like me she is unable to increase the dosage she is on now because of nausea. Kath is already on the transplant list and was there for her three monthly check. I was so nervous I couldn't help talking too much and I just hope I didn't bore her silly with my banal chatter.

Back in the real world I'm have a lazy day today, Peter is at work so I've got the house to myself again but no inclination to do anything naughty. Instead I'm going to catch up on some TV and then have a long chat with my mum about yesterday.

In the news I see the X Factor is in trouble again and it is only week one of the live shows. As you know I've only watched about one programme so far this year and completely forgot it was on this weekend so did not see the cause of the row first hand.

From what I understand it has been claimed that Louis was ordered by production staff to go to viewer votes by making it two judges votes all for the two contestants in the sing off.

On the one hand you had Carolynne who by all accounts is a bit of a stunner and can hold a note. On the other you have Rylan who is all flamboyance and emotion but is a bit dodgy when it comes to actually singing. Carolynne got the least viewers votes and was booted off causing her mentor Gary to walk off in disgust and the audience to boo and cat call.

Come on, any X Factor viewer worth their salt should know how it works by now. If you look good and can sing then you may as well pack your bags because despite all outward appearances X Factor is no longer about the singing, that's just too boring. X Factor is primarily about making lots of money for Simon Cowell and beating Strictly Come Dancing in the viewing figures. To succeed on X Factor you must have a heart wrenching back story, throw tantrums, dress oddly and scream in tune, but only just. Rylan ticked all the boxes and was deemed 'great telly', Carolynne just had talent, no contest.

Talking of Strictly I am in seventh heaven that the glitter, false eyelashes and outrageous costumes are back. I absolutely loved the opening shows, there were some surprises and some disappointments and I was totally entranced by it all. I've even recorded it so I can watch it again this afternoon.

The biggest surprise for me, indeed I think for all of us, was Lisa Riley. That girl can move! I also enjoyed Sid Owen, Colin, Kimberley, Jerry Hall and of course Lewis, though I did think the splits and handstand were a bit unnecessary. I can't stand Denise Van Outen so she could dance like an angel and I'd still dislike her. The biggest disappointment and shock was Victoria Pendleton. Nerves took over, the dance went to pieces and she cried her eyes out. Hopefully she will pull herself together and do better next weekend. I'm just glad Craig did get a chance to say anything, I doubt we'd have seen her again if he had.

Ah well the settee and TV remote await, until tomorrow.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Faith, Hope And Charity

I'm off to Papworth in a couple of hours to see whether they think I am suitable for transplant. Fortunately I've been so busy this last week that I've only really had a chance to think about it now. I am swinging between depression as I'm convinced they will say no and excitement as the other half of me is saying they wouldn't be seeing you if there was absolutely no hope. I am trying to remain in neutral but it is very difficult not to believe that this is a good sign. After all they must have seen all the test results from Harefield by now and yet they still want to see me, it's got to be good hasn't it? Have faith Hazel, have faith.

So how have the last few days been? Well busy and a little bit annoying to be honest. I am very proud that I got through my first full day at work for eighteen months but it wasn't exactly a normal day so no real test. I'm doing another full day next week which might just give me a better picture of how I'm coping.

Andrew came back for his birthday and was bubbling with enthusiasm for his course. I knew once the proper lessons started he would be happier and I was right, thank goodness. Despite me being in work all weekend he enjoyed his time at home and loved his present. We gave him a GPS as he will soon be having to negotiate London roads to get to his ambulance station for his placement. Getting lost would not give the right impression. He tested it last night on his way back to college and arrived with no diversions so it must have worked. He will not be coming home next weekend as he is going out with some mates from his course. Although I will be sad not to see him I'm glad he now feels comfortable enough to stay and enjoy himself. Phew!

It is now a week since April went missing and hope of finding her alive is fading. Most of the professional services involved in the search believe from past experience that they are now looking for a body but have not yet scaled down the search. They have stopped the night searches now, which is a clear sign that the urgency has gone out of the situation and they are now going to adopt a more methodical approach.

They are now searching a disused quarry but I personally think she was dumped in the river. The river is swollen and fast flowing so would be a perfect place to get rid of a body. Knowing the coastline along that area if she has got as far as the estuary then there is little hope of her ever being found. The currents around there are very strong and the chances are that she will either wash ashore on one of the beaches in Aberystwyth or Anglesea, that's if she every does wash up. Poor child, I hope against hope that whatever was done to her was done quickly so that she wasn't frightened and didn't suffer very long.

Mark Bridger the man now charged with her abduction and murder has also been charged with perverting the course of justice. Given that the search has been so wide I am willing to bet he has said very little and is refusing to say where she is. You can only wonder what sort of person can be that callous because I can't understand that mind set at all. Apparently he was tearful in court today but you can bet not one of those tears were shed for April.

The row over Jimmy Saville is gathering pace and, although I expressed my doubts about the stories in a recent blog, the number of accounts, not just from women but from those that knew him, makes me realise something definitely did go on.

There are rumours that executives and others in high places said nothing because Saville, if exposed, would stop raising the vast amounts of money for charity that he was most famous for. I'm sorry but that is no excuse. Admittedly that money was needed and some very good things were done with it but it was dirty money. I'm sure the recipients would have rejected it to a man if they'd have known the conditions put upon it being available.

The weight of evidence against Saville is growing by the day but I still cannot understand why, if all these people knew about it, did no one say anything. They say people were scared of him, he was a powerful man and could wreck careers but Michael Jackson was a 'powerful man' but he was dragged through the courts. OK he was aquitted but the suspicions remained and his career and health never recovered.

I can understand the women, because they were just young girls in those days, being worried about being believed but I can't understand or believe that big powerful men were so scared they said nothing.

Jimmy Saville will never face charges, the stripping of his knighthood, the removal of his name from streets and charities will mean absolutely nothing to him now, he is being judged somewhere else, but hopefully those complicit in his crimes will be brought to book. I suspect that once the enquiries start in earnest, his will not be the only big name to be shamed. Some I'm sure will shock and surprise, with a bit of luck all will be punished.

Well got to go and get ready, I want to look my best, first impressions and all that. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

April Showers

Stayed up late last night watching Sky news, hoping against hope that April would be found. Woke up this morning and she is still missing and as I write this I've got a window open waiting for the latest press conference, which has already been delayed once. As much as I hate to say it, it is not looking good.

It has been over twenty four hours now and two nights away from home in appalling weather. If she is outside she has very little chance, few five year olds would survive outside overnight on Welsh mountains. If she is indoors her plight may be better but the man who just might have been giving her food and drink has been in custody for over twelve hours. The fact that despite the arrest April remains missing says to me they have either got the wrong man or he is nasty enough to prolong the parents anguish but refusing to say anything. This leads to other possibilities, maybe he is covering for someone else and is delaying for evidence to be got rid of. Maybe he is in fear of someone and is selfish enough to put himself above the needs of a little girl. The fact that he is reported to know the family does not surprise me at all, it is usually someone the victim knows and trusts in kidnapping cases. It could be that he and April's family have fallen out and this is some sort of twisted revenge. Yes even in sleepy, close knit Welsh villages where 'everyone cares for everyone else' feuds do exist.

There were volunteers in the hundreds yesterday and more have turned up today but have been sent home. This can only mean that the police also fear the worst and are now looking for a body and don't want a friend or relative to find her. Maybe the bloke they arrested has said something to make them think that.

So we wait, and we hope, and continue to watch the updates on press conferences that at the moment remain upbeat but are beginning to show the strain. The policeman giving the press conference this morning looked like he hadn't slept in days, which is probably true. My thoughts are with the officers too as sooner or later one of them will find her.

My back is still in agony, if it doesn't give over by the weekend I'm going to have to see a doctor to make sure I haven't done any further damage. In the meantime I've moved from paracetamol to ibuprofen as it does take the edge off.

Yesterday we went shopping and I whizzed around on my little trike with no troubles at all. We even found room in the boot for the trike and the shopping, so much better than my old wheelchair. One thing I have discovered is that it is not that good when you have a bad back as it jars when you go over bumps and the back support isn't big enough to support all the way down. Maybe that is why the pain is worse today, who knows.

The fall out from my flu jab continues. My rash has gone but I still have a large, red, itchy, sore patch the size of a saucer at the jab site. The aches and shivers have gone though so red, sore and itchy I can live with. At least I know my body is reacting to the thing so it's likely to have taken, sometimes, when I get no reaction at all I do wonder.

I haven't heard from Andrew since his up beat text on Monday so I can only assume he is either too busy or is enjoying himself too much. One thing is for sure he can't be having anymore problems or I'd have heard about them by now. I will be ringing him on Thursday night anyway to confirm arrangements for the weekend, well there is no point in buying a cake if he is spending his birthday elsewhere, so I will find out how his week has been then.

Today I'm hoping that the weather will clear so I can have one last day with my camera before I go back to work tomorrow. At the moment it doesn't look very promising with high winds and thick, dark clouds scudding across the sky. If the rain does come I'll stay in, watch the news, look after my back and pray April will be found alive and well soon.

From tomorrow I'll be back at work which means a six o'clock start but it shouldn't be too onerous as I'm training for the new system this week. Then on Monday it's off to Papworth to see if I have a chance of getting onto the transplant list.

To be honest I haven't really thought about my appointment at all. I think it is because I've had so many other things to think about and at the beginning of September, October seemed such a long, long way off. Now in four days I'll be sitting in a hospital waiting for someone to decide whether I'm worth saving. At Harefield I was anxious, at the moment I can't be bothered about Papworth. Strange as it was so, so important a few weeks ago. Maybe once Monday comes reality will hit, I hope not as I quite like the laid back appraoch I'm taking at the moment.

Next blog Monday.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Hounding Of The Dead

I had some very positive texts from Andrew yesterday saying how much he was enjoying the lectures. This morning I discover a post on FB also indicating that he'd enjoyed himself.  I cannot tell you what a relief that is, long may it continue.

Is anyone as horrified at the 'scandal' that has blown up around Jimmy Saville?

I'm not talking about what it is he is alleged to have done, though that in itself is shocking, but the fact that all these accusations are flying around when he can no longer defend himself. Let me just say before I go any further that if what is alleged is true then it is awful and I feel really sorry for the girls involved, however why has all this come to light now when he has been dead for months? We only have the word of one side remember, despite other celebrities such as Esther Rantzen crawling out of the woodwork to condemn him claiming to know what was going on. I am particularly surprised at her not doing anything at the time with her background and her Childline. For me the mere fact she remained silent puts the whole thing in doubt. If what is being alleged is true and others knew about it why did no one do anything about it? Doesn't that mean they are guilty too? They say he was protected but why? What made him so special that other would risk their consciouses and possibly their careers, to save him?

Police have confirmed that Jimmy was interviewed but they couldn't find enough evidence to take the case any further, so even back then when it was alleged to actually be happening there was no real proof. That was back in the 1970's and yet thirty years have passed since then and no one came forward even though it is alleged the abuse continued throughout most of his life? Is it just me that finds this all a little bit strange?

And what is the point? What on earth can they hope to gain? If it does turn out to be true what punishment can be given? He cannot be jailed or fined. I read that one girl said she was going to tell but 'lost her nerve'. I'm sorry if that had happened to me I'd have screamed my head off and told the first person I saw afterwards. Fifteen year olds, even back in the 1970's are no shrinking violets so I find it very odd that these girls told no one and have kept quiet for all these years. Of course other celebrities and indeed the BBC are now embroiled in the thing as they are accused of a cover up. In truth we will never know what really went on because Jimmy is not here to answer these accusations. And I for one find this hounding of the dead rather distasteful and will remain skeptical unless concrete evidence is produced.

I am in pain. I had such a restless night, sweating, aching and unable to get comfortable, all of which I've attributed to the flu jab I had yesterday. My arm is red and swollen and I have a slight rash. Sometime during one of these bouts of restlessness I must have turned awkwardly and as a result my back is killing me this morning. I've already soaked it in a hot bath and am now sitting here with a mini hot water bottle at my back. If it doesn't ease by lunchtime I'll have to resort to pain killers.

Yesterday I was left to my own devices again so spent a very lazy afternoon in front of the TV. I go back to work on Thursday so it was one of my last chances to slob out. It has been a lovely break, OK I didn't get to go away in the end but I was able to completely relax and enjoy myself. I've been on shopping sprees, chilled out on the settee, eaten lots, and been out and about with my camera. In short doing all the things I would have done somewhere else but without the comforts of home. We are now planning a definite getaway for spring. By then I will know if I have a chance of transplant. If I do then it will be a nice break from all the waiting. If I don't then it will be time to start doing all the things we promised we would do while I still can.

I still haven't made my mind up about my long term future at work. Over the next few months there is going to be a lot of upheaval whilst new systems are brought in and our shift patterns change.Once everything has settled down and I get a feel for how this effects me then I'll be in a better position to make the decision.

Peter has another cold, apparently his workplace is full of it at the moment so I'm keeping my distance. If it is nice this afternoon we are going for a final fling with the camera's, if not we will do our weekly shop and hope that tomorrow's weather is better. Either way I need to get him out of the house and into the fresh air where I have less chance of catching it and his head will clear, at least for a while.

I woke up this morning to hear that a five year old girl has gone missing from outside her home in Machynlleth, North Wales. This is very sad but I can't help feeling some of the blame must lie with her parents. April was allowed out to play, in the dark without any adult supervision. OK she was with friends but by all accounts most were no older than she was. Who lets a five year old out after dark, essentially on her own? I don't know the area, it is possible it is like my own area which is very quiet and where strangers are easily spotted. It may be that the parents felt it was safe to allow their child out to play. It may be that they felt there was safety in numbers. However how is a five year old, or even ten five year olds going to stop a determined adult up to no good? Children of that age have little observation skills and do not have the physical strength to stop anyone for doing anything. All they can do is run for help and by the time they have blurted out their, no doubt garbled and disjointed story, the deed will have been done and the culprit vanished.

Locals are out in force scouring the area for April and the van but I'm sorry to say that the chances of either still being in the area are very remote. He, as we are presuming it is a he at the moment, could be anywhere in Britain given the time that has elapsed and there is no guarantee April is still with him. I hope she is found safe and unharmed and the culprit caught but as each hour passes this seems less likely. One thing is for sure whatever the outcome her parents will never forgive themselves.

Well time to refill the hot water bottle and grab a cup of tea.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Trouble At Mill

Oh dear there were some problems with my blog yesterday and a few people found that the link on my Facebook page was blocked. After a lot of searching I finally found a way of contacting FB to ask what was going on. I haven't had a reply yet but the fault seems to have cleared up for now. i'm sure someone will tell me if it hasn't.

My first thought was that someone had reported my links for something in them they didn't like so I spent ages trying to work out who I'd upset. Certainly my newest post would not have upset anyone specifically as I don't mention anyone in a bad light so I was at a complete loss. My only conclusion was that someone had not liked my Faith and Morality post for some reason but I don't see how. There are people in the world that don't like me, though most haven't met me, and have devoted their lives to trying to get me kicked off forums or have my messages blocked.Don't ask me why, I've given up trying to work it out and just put it down to one of the risks you take publishing on-line. I have trolls who send me threats and insults on a regular basis because they don't like what I say in my blog sometimes, well always actually. I suppose touching on religion was bound to invite trouble but I don't regret what I posted and it would not surprise me if this is another of their silly little games.

The people who object are not in my situation, they have never, and I pray will never, have to consider the choice between dying slowly or taking a chance on a better life and risk dying quickly during the operation. I defy anyone in my situation to not think about the issues I've highlighted. This blog is not one which skirts around issues. When I started it I vowed that I would not avoid the nastier aspects of being ill and would always be upfront and tell the truth about my situation. I know, because I do read my old blogs from time to time, that sometimes it is uncomfortable reading, sometimes it is very raw and sad, sometimes there is despair but that is me and I'm not changing.

However I've since found out that several links to external sites were blocked yesterday so it seems there might have been a blip with FB. Maybe they were doing some security updates or something. Whatever it was it was bloody irritating and I spent a good couple of hours trying to sort it out.

We escorted Andrew back to his uni last night and it was a good thing we did because he almost took a wrong exit, I think we need to get him a SatNav as soon as possible. He left in a much better frame of mind than when he arrived and I think being at home and talking through his problems has helped enormously. Will he be home next weekend? Probably as it is his birthday but after that I think he might just surprise us.

With nothing to do last night I watched X Factor, well there was nothing else on I really fancied. I wasn't in the mood for something heavy or needing a brain so I went against my instincts. I am so glad I did as it gave me the biggest laugh and a bit of a shock.

The laugh came from 'the youngest contestant on the show', Elle I think her name is who appeared to have arrived in fancy dress. My immediate thought was 'my God, it's Wilma Flintstone!' After that I just couldn't see her as anything else. The hair and make up were perfect and the short off the shoulder dress with fringe at the hem completed the picture. I do hope someone has a word otherwise I will spend every other show I watch in stitches.

The shock came in the form of boy band Union J. Jaymi, or plain old James when I knew him, is one of my ex pupils. It is indeed a small world and I now feel compelled to watch the wretched show to see how he does. Was he a good pupil? Well to be honest I can't remember so he obvious wasn't one of my stars or one of those I dreaded so he probably jogged along not causing me much trouble.

I had my flu jab this morning. I was expecting both flu and pneumonia but they refused to give me both at the same time as they were worried my immune system wouldn't be able to cope. So I've had my flu jab and have an appointment to return for the pneumonia in two weeks.

Andrew has just text to say his first lecture was very interesting. I'm hoping this is a sign that the crisis has now passed.