Friday, 30 November 2012


After speaking to my doctor over the phone, I really couldn't face sitting in the waiting room being coughed over, it seems I have a mild form of flu. Bizarrely breathing is fine, I just feel crap, I ache all over, go from shivering to sweating and back again, have a head that feels like it is going to explode and have lost all interest in food. I can't say I'm surprised as I've sat in three different waiting rooms over the last two weeks waiting for different tests so I was bound to pick up something. Thankfully because I've had the jab it is mild, you wanna bet, and I should be over it in a few days. I have antibiotics on standby, just in case, but he doesn't think I'll need them this time round.

I'm A Celebrity Watch

Just a quick word on the fuss surrounding Charlie Brooks daughter.

The child is seven and is more than old enough to have understood there was a chance she would not see her mum in the flesh.

The child is probably used to her mother's absences being the daughter of an actress.

The child sees her mum everyday on TV so is hardly unaware of where she is or what she is doing.

It is evident from last night's phone call that her daughter wants Charlie to win.

It was only six days from the incident, or less, until they are reunited anyway.

Charlie Brooks is not a bad mother, she is earning money to keep her daughter in a good home. Charlie is probably under contract to say is she walks then she faces penalties. I see nothing wrong in wanting to earn as much as possible for her daughter.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Under The Weather

I'm thinking that feeling extremely cold yesterday was more down to me brewing something than the actual weather.

Despite having the heating on full blast and wrapping myself up in my thick winter dressing gown I shivered right through to bed time where I wore pj's, dressing gown and duvet and STILL couldn't get warm. By 0200 I was on my knees in the bathroom, still shivering, being sick. Despite all this, idiot here got up at 0630 and had a shower with the full intention of going to work, oh yes I really can be that stupid. However breakfast stayed down all of three seconds and I was soon back under the covers shivering as though I was in the Arctic. I gave in and rang work to say I wouldn't be there then went back to bed and fell asleep.

I woke up around ten feeling groggy and guilty but then I remembered that everyone at work has been telling me for weeks that my health is now the top priority and not to push myself. So why feel guilty about doing just that? I also remember being told by Papworth that I must keep myself as well as possible for transplant so I'm focusing on that and am working on getting this latest bug out of my system as quickly as possible.

So it's another day on the settee, with duvet, drinking loads of hot honey and lemon, tea and if I think I can keep it down, soup. I am disappointed at myself though, a) for getting another bug so soon after recovering from the last one and b) because my weight gain programme has hit the skids. Hopefully I won't lose anything, I just won't put anything on.

I need to go back to bed so can't write anything more. hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Getting A Grip

Oh dear God, trouble has now erupted on the PH face book forum, and all over a picture.

The same people who brought the official forum to it's knees are trying to do the same here and are storming off left, right and center because someone dared to post a picture of themselves in a hospital bed wearing an oxygen mask. The arguments are the same, 'it might frighten someone', well boo hoo, the poster is obviously pleased with his recovery and wanted to share his good fortune and show people that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I see nothing wrong with these sort of pictures, you see much worse on TV.

It got me thinking though, what a wonderful way to chart your recovery. I will be instructing Peter to take similar pictures as I think the only way to truly appreciate how far you've travelled is by remembering where you started. I will post them on my blogs and if people don't like them, then they don't have to read them.

My new phone is amazing, I can do so much with it and it is a lot easier to use than I imagined. I'm still having trouble with a few features, such as the camera, but I guess it will all come with practice. I have however discovered a game called Angry Birds and have become obsessed with it, hopefully this will wear off in time. My main problem is forgetting I have a touch screen and accidentally opening apps I don't want. Again it is probably something I'm going to have to get used to but so far, so good.

We went shopping this morning in Milton Keynes and it was freezing.

They obviously didn't have the heating on in the shopping center, or if they did it was very low because I soon found myself shivering. Within half an hour I was so cold I actually ached and my chest felt as though someone had grated it. I always get bad chest pain when I'm cold and this was probably the worst I've been for a while. Now in winter I always wear thermals if I know I'm going to be outside a lot. I never dreamed of wearing them to MK as I've always over heated in them as most of the shopping center is indoors. Big, big mistake and one I will not be making in the future, from now until at least April it is thermals all the way.

On the plus side we did get some of our Christmas shopping done and as there were not many people around it was a fairly stress free experience. What did get me though was the number of school age kids around. It is mid week and not half term so why were so many out of school? I'm not just talking teenagers either.

On the drive home my phone went and I was surprised to see it was Papworth. This time they were ringing to make an appointment to go and speak to the surgeons and do the paperwork. Another step closer but I do wish they'd just sent a letter. I have heart failure every phone call.

So it is time to warm up and sit curled up on the settee with a warm cat and a hot chocolate and catch up on some TV.

Next blog Monday

P.S. I've noticed that the picture has been removed form the forum despite the moderators and other members urging a re-post. What a shame but at least the moderators agree with the minority that there was nothing offensive about the picture. With a bit of luck this will put the two moaners back in their box and hopefully they'll stay there.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Good Times

Well yesterday was such terrific fun. I really hope we get to do it again sometime.

I'd offered to collect the guest of honour as I figured it was his party so he should be able to have a drink or two. This was easier said than done as the motorway was nightmare and I overshot the pick up place and had to double back. I got there just on time and thankfully the journey to the pub was a lot smoother.

There were nine of us in all as a couple had to pull out, one because she was having a baby, the other two through sickness. One of the ladies brought her fourteen week old baby and he was the star of the show. So well behaved and absolutely gorgeous.

As with all pubs these days the amount of food served up was much more than I could possibly eat so I opted for a Broccoli and Stilton soup which was heavenly. Unfortunately I couldn't even manage to finish that but still foolishly could not resist dessert of black forest gateaux with heaps of cream. Again half was left on the plate but what I did eat was amazing.

Despite the slight set backs with the food I had a really brilliant time and am looking forward to next time, whenever that might be. It was great to see Steve again but I'm sad that I no longer work with him. I wish him well and will make sure we keep in touch.

Woke up this morning to find it dark, dull and wet. How I hate this weather. Still I am fortunate that I'm not flooded out when half the country appears to be under water.

Spoke to both Laurence and Andrew last night. Laurence lives in Northamptonshire, which is one of the counties most severely hit by the floods but despite a few tricky roads on the way to work his area is dry. Thank goodness for that, I had visions of having to dash up there to help bail him out.

Andrew has had a good first day on the ambulance though he seems to have mostly dealt with vomitting. He's also attended broken limbs, a stroke, a suspected heart attack and someone having a fit during his own wedding. He spent the day standing around or fetching and carrying as he suspected he would but from Wednesday he's going to be allowed to help treat patients. He will only be doing the basics, blood pressure, temperature and finger prick bloods but it is a start.

As I sit here writing I'm waiting in eager anticipation of the arrival of my new phone. I love gadgets, I'm just not very good with them. This afternoon is ear marked for setting it up. I reckon if I can get it just as I want it I should be OK. Watch this space.

Apprentice Watch

Oh my goodness. What a shower. Odyssey's Mad Hatter's Tea Party was a total shambles but fortunately for them the customers thought it was all part of the act and, for the most part, happily played along. David proved without a shadow of a doubt that he couldn't organise a party in a brewery and got the blame for almost everything.

Over on Platinum it was a picture of calm, if you ignored Marie that is. Goodness me that girl is a bitch and one of the most annoying people on the planet. Her role seems to be to put a spanner in the works wherever possible, bully everyone to her way of thinking and then blame everyone else when it all goes wrong, as it did here. Despite the calm efficient service the expensive ingredients and the overpriced tickets (Marie's Idea) resulted in them losing the task. Marie continued to be obnoxious in the boardroom, challenging team leader Alice and daring to shout down Lord Sugar who showed every sign of losing his temper. I was convinced Marie was going but she escaped, again, and Alice was shown the door.

I have finally succumbed to pressure, mostly mine, and ordered a 'how to bake cakes' book. I've got Christmas coming up and would like to present my family with something that doesn't look as though it has been run over. If it arrives today tomorrow is experiment day, wish me luck.

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Day Of Firsts

I know this sounds strange for a former IT teacher but I've always been scared of the modern phones. The touch screens terrify me as I've never really felt comfortable with them.

However the time has come to upgrade. I'm on pay as you go at the moment and while that is fine in the normal course of events, if something out of the ordinary happens, such as going into hospital, my costs are enormous. My bill from being in Papworth was £57 and when I was in Brompton for two weeks last year it was nearer the £100 mark. The Internet is so expensive I don't actually use it, so for the first time in my life I'm going with a contract. I also get a new phone. The one I've plumped for is the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus which comes with free insurance, 600 mins, 1GB of data and unlimited texts all for £10 per month. As I regularly spend £15 - £20 a month now just on texts this seems like a good deal to me. So I've taken the plunge and hopefully will get on well with it.

I am going out with some friends from work this lunch time. We are all meeting at a pub to celebrate my friend Steve's new job. This is the first time I've ever been out with people from work, not because I don't want to but because these things are usually at night which makes it difficult. I must say I'm really looking forward to it. And I have the privilege of acting as chauffeur to the guest of honour.

Over the last day or two there have been calls for people to post more on the official PH website forums.

While I would support this move I can't help thinking that the moderators on the official site have brought this lack of posting on themselves. It used to be a really good forum where you could ask anyone more or less anything related to PH. Then people started to object to the graphic content of some of the answers saying that some readers would be upset, scared or worried by what they read and we should more or less sweep the nasty bits of PH under the carpet. I and several others objected to this restriction sighting the facts that if people didn't want to know the answers they wouldn't be asking the questions. Also that it was better to be up front about the nasty bits as it meant no lulling people into false hope and them ending up having a nasty shock.

Unfortunately the moderators seemed more influenced by the vocal minority, isn't that always the case, and started issuing warnings, removing posts and then banning people. All extremely inappropriate behaviour for a forum supposed to be helping and supporting people through a terminal illness. I mean come on! How can you talk about a terminal illness without mentioning 'death' for heavens sake! Then they switched systems and everyone was removed from the members list and had to re-register only instead of just filling out an online form the registration process involved a moderator ringing you and quizzing you to establish your motives for joining. All I'm trying to do is join a forum love, not join MI5.

The result is that membership has plummeted and there are very few people around to help newcomers. A classic case of using a sledge hammer to crack a nut if you ask me.

Strictly Watch

Oh my goodness! I was right for once, Victoria has gone! I think I'll have to have a lie down in a darkened room.

Right got to go and get ready, time to party on dudes.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunshine On A Windy Day

Well despite all dire warnings we seem to have escaped the worst of the weather and I awoke to bright sunshine. I treated myself to a long, hot bath and then got a burst of energy and changed the bed linen, towels and gave my drug prep table it's weekly deep clean. What a way to start a Sunday!

My weight gain mission is still reaping rewards and this morning I'm 7 stone 8 pounds or 48.2 kilos so another gain but only two pounds this week. Still I am moving in the right direction and my target of eight stone doesn't seem that far out of reach now. I have had a couple of 'sick' days though where I felt really nauseous and couldn't keep much down so I shouldn't be too surprised that I haven't gained much.

Coming home last night I was cold, hungry and tired and really couldn't face cooking so I stopped off  at Domino's and bought three medium pizza's, spicy beef and tandoori chicken, ham and pineapple and a margarita with extra tomato and onion for me. I never buy fast food on the way home so goodness knows what got in to me. I wolfed mine down before even changing out of my uniform and spent the rest of the evening feeling bloated and uncomfortable but I kept it down.

The last few days have been a real mixture of highs and lows but mostly have involved stress.

Work has been busy, mostly because of the weather and my home life hasn't been much quieter. With no hospital visits or tests lined up for the next four days I am hoping to relax and have some fun. This afternoon I will be watching the last Grand Prix of the season and then will catch up on I'm A Celeb and The Apprentice as I've haven't been able to watch either yet. It was only a miracle that I got to see Strictly last night. Monday I'm going out to lunch to celebrate a good friend finding his ideal job and then I can put my feet up and relax for the rest of my break.

Andrew goes back to uni today ready to start his placement tomorrow. He is both excited and nervous but I'm sure once he's in the back of an ambulance, with a patient, racing towards a hospital on blues and twos, he'll soon get over it. He is based near Twickenham Stadium and crews often attend matches so if there is a match on and someone gets injured over the next three weeks, it might well be my boy rushing onto the pitch.

Strictly Watch

Is it me or has Strictly lost some of its momentum?

Last night wasn't exactly riveting and, apart from Nicky's Charleston, the dances were far too controlled and therefore dull. We have a lot of good technicians this year but unfortunately few of them are good at 'getting into character'. I'm still routing for Louis and actually thought his dance was a lot better than the judges gave credit for. Poor Victoria was reduced to tears, again, and even Lisa seemed to loose some of her sparkle. I think she could well find herself in the bottom two this week, along with Michael or Victoria. If people actually voted for the dance rather than the personality then it should be Victoria going home as she is by far the weakest dancer left. It won't be of course, and if it has to be someone good then I hope it is Denise.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Rude And Ungrateful

Home early from the Brompton for a change so a quick update.

Arrived after a quick and pleasant trip ten minutes early for my appointment at the clinic. When I got there the receptionist asked if I'd attended my ECHO appointment. What ECHO appointment? I hadn't been told anything about this but apparently I'd been booked in for nine, two hours earlier. It seems that ECHO thought the clinic were going to notify me while clinic expected the ECHO department to do so. Another appointment is being made and I'm assured I will be notified. I will not be holding my breath.

So with that little crisis over I was weighed and had the usual tests done before being packed off to see Carl, my Nurse Specialist. We had a good long chat and ironed out a few little problems and agreed to leave the increase in dosage for another month or so to give me a chance to put some weight on for transplant. Of course the proviso was that if I suddenly started to go downhill then I was to contact him immediately and we might have to revise that decision. I am happy with this as, although I do feel I've slipped back a bit, I'm not ill, ill, if you know what I mean. I can still do things, it just takes a bit more effort. I was then passed to Lisa, the other Nurse Specialist for a walk test. This is basically to see how far you can walk in six minutes and how the walking affects your oxygen levels and this is where the real fun and games began.

Lisa had a new oxygen sat reader which she popped on my finger at the beginning of the test to get a base line. To everyone's amazement it showed a reading of 97%! I haven't had a reading that high for years. She took the machine off my finger reset it and this time it read 89%. So off I went, up and down the corridor while Lisa shouted encouragement and time checks. I was three minutes in when I started to flag and by four minutes I had to stop and lean against the wall to get my breath back. I did the last two minutes at snails pace. My oxygen levels at the end were 79% so quite a drop.

We were sitting, chatting while I got my breath back and Lisa wrote up her findings when another patient interrupted us. She was a rather large lady, heavily made up and very angry.

"I going out for a fag."

I was rather taken aback by this statement as I couldn't imagine why anyone with PH would want to risk further problems by smoking. However she wasn't finished there and launched into a tirade.

"I hate that Doctor! He's bloody useless. He told me that if I didn't start loosing weight I may as well go back to smoking so that's exactly what I'm going to do."

She stormed off leaving us and everyone else within hearing range completely gob smacked. All that because someone had dared to tell her to loose a few pounds, how ungrateful! These doctors are some of the best in the country and if one of them told me to loose weight I'd do it, not get all upset and use it as an excuse to carry on doing something else that was bad for me. I know this will offend some people but I honestly believe that if you have PH, or any other heart/lung problem for that matter, and you smoke then you deserve everything you get. You also shouldn't be using a service that is doing its best to keep your life as normal as possible when you have no intention of lifting a finger to help yourself.

We saw this woman outside as we left and judging by the number of butts at her feet she'd indulged in more than just one 'fag'.

We called in on the Ace Cafe on the way home for a mug of tea and a bacon butty, delicious, and then hit the motorway and then stopped. The overhead signs were flashing telling us that there were long delays between junctions 14 and 18. Dismayed we struggled on until junction nine and then bailed off to continue our journey on the A5. We put the radio to catch the traffic news to find out what was going on and were bemused when they announced that the M1 was running normally.

Once home a letter was waiting for me, it was the results of on of the extra tests I've had to get done for transplant and much to my relief it was normal. Another hurdle crossed.

So after all that I'm quite tired now so I'm off to spend the rest of the afternoon with my feet up on the settee catching up on some TV recordings.

Next Blog Sunday.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Weighty Issue

Yesterday's chores passed off a lot quicker than expected as we whizzed around in record time. So I was soon on the settee, feet up and cup of tea in hand, which is just as well as I've started to experience painful calf muscles if I walk any distance. I've had aching legs before and my specialists said it was because my blood cannot keep up with the oxygen demand walking requires, so if I walk too far or too fast my muscles get oxygen deprived and protest. I was halfway around Tesco, feeling good so without trike, when I got the worst cramps ever. I could hardly stand and whimpered pathetically as I clung to the trolley until the feeling passed. I've asked other PH suffers about this and got a range of possible answers but most seem to blame the Flolan. I've got an appointment at the Brompton on Friday so I'll check it out with them.

It was Warfarin clinic today and so another painful encounter with a nurse who just didn't care. She resisted all attempts at conversation and jabbed the needle in as though she were stabbing an insect. The look she gave me indicated that any complaint would be ignored.

While waiting I was both amused and shocked when a fight almost broke out over a wheelchair.

Sitting quietly reading and generally minding my own business I was suddenly jolted from the drama on the page by the drama taking place in the doorway to the clinic. In the door frame, stuck fast was the biggest wheelchair I've ever seen. Sitting in it was the biggest woman I've ever seen. The chair was at least double the size of your average one and was sturdily constructed out of what looked suspiciously like steel girders. This lady was accompanied by two other females of not un-similar proportions who were busily trying to ram the chair through the gap taking paint and splinters of wood off with every push.

The commotion soon drew the attention of the receptionist and the clinic sister who rushed over to help and calmly unlocked the other half of the double doors to allow the chair through. Having inspected the damage the ward sister turned on the trio and berated them for a) not sending one of the more mobile ladies in to get help and b) not trying to undo the door themselves rather than cause so much damage. Their reply was astonishing as in broad American accents they hit back complaining how everything in England was so small and everyone so rude.

The farce continued when they tried to park the thing in the clinic. Everywhere they put it they blocked a corridor and prevented patients and nursing staff from moving freely around the clinic. In the end the sister politely suggested that the lady in the wheelchair got out and sat on the ordinary chairs (to be honest she'd have needed three at least and the chair be folded up. This was not a suggestion welcomed by the trio and another argument ensued. In the end one of the nurses came out into the waiting room and took this lady's blood sample just so they could get rid of her. Needless to say those of us who'd been waiting half an hour or more were not best pleased to witness this blatant bit of queue jumping but were also heartily thankful to see the back of them. I do hope they are not going to become regular customers.

On reflection this might have been the reason I was stabbed with such vigor, it was nothing personal, they were all just well and truly pissed off.

So Friday sees the dreaded trip to the Brompton. Normally I don't mind the regular MOT to see that everything is ticking over nicely. However I know this is going to be a tricky one because they are going to be anxious to keep me in the best possible health for my transplant, while I want to put on weight, also for the transplant, and know that the two things are not compatible. Sure if they increase the drug I will get used to it and will feel better but it also mean weeks of nausea and vomiting, which is something I really cannot afford at the moment. I'm sure we will reach a compromise though, we usually do.

I'm A Celebrity Watch

We have the first leaving, and as with most years it is due to illness rather than the vote off. This year it is Brian who has bitten the dust and been removed due to a 'mystery' illness. A recovering alcoholic with a history of depression, concerns about his emotional state were raised early on in the week when he broke down in tears after a spat and then had a rambling row with Rosemary over nothing. Hopefully whatever it is he'll be back on form, but sadly not back in the jungle, soon.

Helen reaped the rewards of two successful trials and did not get voted for the last bush tucker trial. Is it just me or, despite her cheer, did she look a tad put out? Anyway the public have turned their wrath on Hugo, who to be fair has been acting like a big baby of late. Rosemary hit the nail on the head when she said he was used to getting his own way and threw tantrums when he didn't. We will see just how much of a baby when the trial takes place on Wednesday. Naturally it can't happen tonight because the show is making way for football. Does this annoy anyone else? The show is only on for three weeks a year and we have already lost two days for football. If I ruled the world I'd make it illegal, not football, just forcing it on everyone.

Well off to enjoy the last free afternoon before back to work tomorrow. Next blog Sunday.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Stuck In The Puddle With You

We made Rusden by two complete with new radiator strapped to our roof rack. It was another lovely drive though, with blue skies and barely a whisper of wind. The only thing that spoilt the experience was the whistle of the radiator, which had the tone and volume of the whistle you get on steam engines.

After unpacking the boot of all the tools, I was ensconced on the settee with a cup of tea, biscuits and the remote and happily watched Star Trek and Crocodile Dundee while trying to ignore the banging and swearing coming from the bathroom. However despite predictions and a few minor hitches things went relatively well, and although we were there longer than predicted, and had to mop up a small puddle or two, we were all packed up and heading home by six. Leaving a very happy boy, which I assume is still the case as we haven't had any panic stricken phone calls.

The temperature had dropped significantly by the time we headed home and on some of the minor country road dipped as low as 2.6C. The weather was still clear and dry though so we made good time, as there was very little traffic about, and were soon home where I made sandwiches and tea while Peter unloaded the car.

Andrew arrived much later than predicted and was freezing cold and heavily laden. He confirmed that he was here for most of the week as he had several assignments to do which he was finding difficult in his digs. His room mate, who has not changed his bedding since he arrived, is either always asleep or crashing in and out making it difficult to concentrate. So it looks like despite living in the same house, we won't be seeing much of each other except at meal times.

Showing a previously unknown spark of common sense he has already done a dry run from his uni to his placement station and although it is fairly straightforward he will have to get up at around five in the morning to make the run and will probably not get back until nine. On the plus side it is a four on, four off shift pattern so he will have plenty of recovery time in between.

This week is going to be a busy one. Not only will I be working but I also have two hospital appointments, including one at the Brompton on Friday. There were plans to up my meds but I don't really want to do that now I've started to gain weight. On the other hand if I don't do the increase I might start having more problems. I'm finding it to be a real worry. If I go with the increase I'm likely to undo all the good work of the last week plus more and end up taking time off work, again. If I don't do it my breathing will get worse and I will feel worse than usual and will end up taking more time off work again. Arrrggghhhh! Why is this illness so flaming complicated? I just can't seem to ever come out on top, just when I think I'm getting a grip on it something else comes along to slap you down. It's exhausting both physically and emotionally, I am just surprised that suffers of PH are not all basket cases.

Strictly Watch

I just knew I shouldn't have made an predictions as I got it wrong again. At least Louis escaped, much to Flavia's surprise given her reaction. In fairness Richard has been teetering on the brink for some time now and despite being funny and extremely entertaining he's dancing was beginning to lag behind so it was the right decision. With so few left now the competition is beginning to heat up and I suspect we will see a few shock exits over the next few weeks. So time to predict the top three, Denise, Lisa and Louis would be my bet so they are all likely to go out over the next three weeks, watch this space.

I'm A Celebrity Watch

Talking about competition heating up I'm beginning to suspect that Helen has been playing a little game.

For the last week she has failed every task, ensuring the public keep voting for her and causing friction in camp. Now the time for the vote off has arrived and the camp decides who does the trials. Little Helen has realised that this means her time is running out. She will never get chosen to do any of the tasks and the public are most likely to vote her off early as apart from boobs and screaming she doesn't contribute much.

So a different Helen emerges and by some miracle get all twelve stars. Anyone else think she might be a better actress than we've given her credit for? Suspicious or what? Predictable she got chosen for the live trial and the old Helen re-emerged as she cleverly gave the public a 'show' and her camp mates some meals ensuring all were satisfied.

As far as the other contestants went, because believe it or not there are eleven others in there with her, well they are not only desperate for food.

Nadine has upped her hug fest and appears suddenly behind anyone getting a little heated. Her bear hug on Rosemary looked like an attempt to strangle, possibly because Rosemary is also getting more air time than she is. Hugo is becoming a pain as he begins to act like a spoilt 'posh boy'. He cries at a drop of a hat, is moody and sullen and totally unappreciative of anything anyone does for him. Despite having the first meal in days he moaned about the quality as it wasn't 'at a standard he'd even contemplate eating normally'. What on earth does he expect? Five star dining? I was with Rosemary all the way when she had her little rant about him. Colin and Ashley are relentlessly chirpy while Eric and Brian have got the old geezer act down to a tee. As for the others well I'm hoping we will actually get to see more of them over the next week or so. First to be voted off, Helen, please, please, please.

It is shopping day today, it is also drug delivery day. Told you it was going to be a busy week.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Computer Says 'No'.

Well yesterday really was forced time in front of the TV. Just after I posted my blog the Internet went down and didn't return until 1900 by which time I was engrossed in Strictly.

To pass the time I watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and will never watch it again. Apart from the very creepy lead character it was a very strange moralistic tail and I really did not enjoy it at all. To pass some of the time I change the bed, did all my laundry and gave the kitchen and the bathroom a clean. I resisted vacumning as Peter was home and would have moaned at me. He knew exactly what I was thinking though and announced he planned to do the floors sometime this weekend.

You don't realise how much you use the Internet until you haven't got it. Being my first day off after four long working days I had loads to do, banking, shopping, arrange a few things for next week etc, etc so roamed the house like a caged animal, frustration just isn't the word. However it is back this morning and as long as it stays up until lunch it can do what it likes in the afternoon because I won't be here. Laurence has a plumbing problem so we are going up to help him fix it. As I am useless at all things DIY it will be another afternoon in front of the TV interspersed with trips to the kitchen to make cups of tea to keep the workers fuelled. Peter reckons it should only take about an hour to fix, which from experience means we won't be home before midnight but hey ho, what can you do?

Unusually I'm seeing both my children today, though not at the same time.

Andrew's placements start next week which means no lessons. Somehow or other he has no placement time at all during the first week so he is coming home in order to write his assignments up in peace and quiet. He's doing three sets of four day shifts. The first is on 26th in Isleworth so quite a journey from his uni in Hatfield, especially with a 7am start. He's really, really looking forward to it though so I don't think the early starts will phase him in any way.

There was a moment of blind panic early this morning when the phone went at around two. Peter slept through it and by the time I'd untangled myself from the bedding and line (I always end up with my line twisted around me, I don't know how), the phone had stopped. I still got up and checked the answer phone but no message. I lay awake for a good half hour wondering who it had been but in didn't ring again so I concluded it must be one of the late night drunken mistakes we sometimes get or a bloody PPI salesman who couldn't work out the time difference.

Strictly Watch

I was not impressed by Wembley night, the dance floor was too big and the crowd to loud.

Lisa was back to her big, mouth always open, frantic style while Denise annoyed the hell out of me by ruining one of my all time favourite songs. It was supposed to be 'Walk Like An Egyptian' but was barely recognisable and I found it so distracting I hardly noticed the dance at all. As you all know by now I really cannot stand this woman and it leaves me in something of a dilemma because I do like James and would really like to see him win, just not with smug, self satisfied Denise. I was disappointed with Louis and Flavia, their dance just lacked something this week, while Nicky and Michael both showed improvements again. I hated Victoria's dance.

So bottom two, well after last week it is going to be really difficult. I'd like to see Denise in there just to pull her down a peg or two but it is unlikely. Much as I hate to say it I think Louis might just be in there along with possibly Kimberley or Lisa. However I am most probably going to be wrong, again.

I'm A Celebrity Watch

OK, I am past wanting to drown Helen now, I just want her to walk out and disappear.

Last night's attempt at a trail was the most pathetic ever. She started panicking before she even left camp and it went downhill from there. As she walked off to meet Ant and Dec (who are the best thing about this show ) her camp mates sagely resigned themselves to another day of rice and beans.

Once in the clearing it took the boys all their efforts to actually get Helen to put the goggles on. They even managed to get her in the cage and onto the wheel and for a brief second I actually though she might give it a go. She didn't and after refusing to do the trial declared, to everyones bemusement, that she'd given it 100%. Even Ant and Dec, usually achingly diplomatic, could hardly keep the look of disgust off their faces.

Back in camp Helen immediately went on the offensive. After cheerily announcing that she had come back empty handed she started accusing Charlie of giving her 'looks'. She got even more annoyed when Eric asked her why she was there. A reasonable enough question, given the circumstances. Helen then retired to the video shack and sobbed that hr camp mates 'hated' her. Helen my love, they probably do, in between discussing how you would taste with a little rice and beans.

Someone who is disliking the situation even more than Helen is Nadeen who, from her reactions, had rather banked on getting all the trails and therefore most of the air time. So Nadeen has taken to hugging Helen whenever possible just to get a little share of the action.

Tonight's trial will be done by.............Helen. Rice and beans it is then.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


Well, well , well, who'd have thought it? I seem to have had some early success in the battle to gain a few pounds. My weight today 47.7 kg or 7st 7lbs, thats a gain of four pounds! My six small meals a day, several full cream hot chocolates, Complan and diving for a boiled sweet every time I feel queasy seems to be working. I've kept almost everything down and the results are there for all to see. At this rate I should reach my target weight in another couple of weeks. I have an appointment at the Brompton on Friday where increasing my Flolan will be discussed. I'm going to resist as I don't want anything messing things up.

Talk about a busy week! Is it a full moon or something because calls have been more numerous, weird and wonderful than in the previous week or so. Needless to say I am shattered but happily so as the time flew by and I quite enjoyed myself. Today I'm going to spend mostly on the settee catching up on all my recordings and with three reality shows going all at once plus my usual soaps that is going to take some doing.

In the news the Police and Crime Commissioners have been voted in by a minority turn out, less than 10% in some areas and one polling station in South Wales didn't get one voter through it's doors. How shocking is that! Of those that did bother to put pencil to paper a higher proportion than usual chose to spoil their vote so most Commissioners have actually been elected on a less than 10% vote.

So where did it all go wrong? Well the £75 million it took to set up did not include a budget for advertising the event. Leaflets were in short supply and although there was information on the Internet the website address must have been a state secret. Research shows that in elections such as this it is likely to be the older section of society that votes. Not everyone has access to the Internet or indeed wants is. A vast proportion of the elderly population do not trust it. Anyone think that by making information on candidates only available online might be missing the target audience? Well if you do then you are more on the ball than those that arranged the election. Interviews with various members of the public on the news channels showed that the biggest reason they did not vote was lack of information. Hopefully someone will take note or there may be more polling stations like the one in South Wales next time.

One last point, if these elections were supposed to be non political why do most of the candidates appear to be affiliated to political parties?

Apprentice Watch

Another show, another less than sparkling performance from either team.

This week's task was buying props for an opera company. Things did not get off to a good start when neither team could even pronounce Candelabrum let alone know what it was. If they had twigged the word 'candle' then they might have also got a handle on the other mystery item, 'Votives' basically candles to go into the candelabrum. They constantly asked people if they new that a candelabrum was but the pronunciation returned a series of blanks.

After a dismal showing by both teams Platinum lost, but only just, and Amy, who took over from Maria as most shouty female was gone.

I'm a Celebrity Watch

There is a fine line between being entertaining and being irritating and actress Helen Flanagan has past the line by miles. 

After a week of watching I have developed a soft spot for Colin, cast an admiring eye over David, pegged Charlie as a possible winner and would like to hold Helen's head underwater. Surprisingly I think Nadine has come across as quite level headed and a bit boring, she does carry a rather smug air about her though which grates a bit. The others haven't really stood out yet, well except Hugo who had another mini breakdown after failing a rather simple task. This series is warming up nicely and I can't wait for the next show.

Strictly tonight, I'm going to be spoiled, especially as the husband has returned home with chocolate filled doughnuts.

Well time to start getting lunch together, gnocchi with tomato and basil sauce topped with melted mozzarella, gorgeous. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

A Little Me Time

I almost decided not to post a blog today, mainly because I'm quite tired. It has been a really hectic week, I still can't get my head around the fact that this time last week I was sitting at my desk at work blissfully unaware that my whole life was about to be turned upside down. The two day shopathon didn't help either so all in all I'm feeling a bit drained. It's not just physically tired either, I think I've experienced every possibly emotion on the planet over the last seven days. So today I'm going to go for a little 'me' time and relax in front of the TV.

Talking of Which

Strictly Watch

Oh my goodness me I really didn't see that one coming at all. What on earth was Kimberley doing in the bottom two? She dances like a dream! As for Fern, well she didn't make that big an impression on me this week it has to be said, but she was far from the worst and yet she's gone. Wow! I was pleased to see Richard's reaction to being saved. It was genuine, unadulterated delight, brilliant!

Is it just me or does Craig have something against Louis. It never really occurred until yesterday but I can't think why he keeps giving such wonderful dances such low score and yet praises mediocre Denise to the skies. It just doesn't make sense.

I'm A Celebrity Watch

I seriously debated whether to watch this series, OK I admit it, for all of two seconds, but was so glad I tuned in last night. The sight of Ant and Dec talking directly to the Prime Minister and urging him to vote for the bush tucker trials was hilarious. I loved, loved, loved it. The subject of all the fuss ( Nadine Dorris) has so far proved to be a bit bossy to be honest. As predicted she has been chosen for the trial tonight and probably will be for every trial for the next three weeks.

Helen Flanagan is the early runner for wimp of the series though she has some serious competition in  Hugo Taylor who burst into tears at the stress of it all on the first night. 'I'm tired, hungry, cold and feeling slightly dizzy', he wailed. I have already developed a soft spot for Colin Baker who made no bones about the reason he went in, to loose weight, and I quite like David Haye and Charlie Brookes who both come across as really nice, balanced people. Roll on tonight's episode.

My increased eating plan nearly hit a snag yesterday when I had to dive for the lollipops after lunch. To my utter surprise they did seem to work but I was unable to eat much for the rest of the day and concentrated on downing Complan and hot chocolates instead. My new diet might also hit the buffers tomorrow as I'm back in work and not sure how I'm going to fit everything in. I'm doing a packed lunch, complete with lollies, and will buy some crisps or chocolate bars to snack on. It's tough but someone's got to do it.

We drove back to university with Andrew last night as he couldn't pack everything he'd bought into his ruck sack. I must admit when he picked up twelve tins of tomatoes I did wonder how he intended to transport them, now I know. There was more trouble on the motorway but for once it worked in our favour and we returned on a totally empty road as the accident had happened at the junction before the one we joined on. Swings and roundabout I suppose.

So next blog on Saturday, unless the medical profession has any other surprises for me, when I will be another week nearer being well again.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mission Impossible

Well what a day I had yesterday.

We decided to brave the shops and go on a fact finding mission for Christmas presents. Actually the boys took me out in a desperate attempt to get me to give them some ideas. We ended up in MK and despite arriving late in the afternoon, around three, it was still really busy. However thanks to my trusty trike I was soon zipping around here, there and everywhere and, because of its size, I was able to drive into shops rather than leave it outside. However I soon found out that being on a mobility device of any sort instantly renders you invisible to the public as people walked into me, cut across me forcing me to brake hard, and on one occasion actually pushed me out of the way while I was perusing the perfume counter. How rude is that!

We also came across a craft market set up in the hall where the Christmas display usually goes up. We went around all the stalls, looking for interesting bits and pieces and happened upon a cheese stall, selling a whole range of weird and wonderful. As has happened elsewhere people just stood in front of me preventing me from getting anywhere close but the stall holder spotted me and came out from behind his counter with a selection of tasters, how thoughtful. His tactic worked too as ten minutes later I was trundling away with five different cheeses and an empty purse.

Still it was such fun as I haven't been window shopping for a while now as I haven't felt up to it and I did come away with some brilliant, and inexpensive ideas.

Biggest shock of the day was running into my old boss from my days in the Employment Service. It must be at least eighteen years since I last saw him. He was out shopping with his two boys and was as surprised to see me as I was him. Apart from a few grey hairs and having a beard he hasn't changed all that much, goodness only knows what he though of me. We did that awkward, trying to catch up twenty years in five minutes thing, and then went our separate ways.

Back home we opened the cheeses and tucked in along with some fresh crusty bread. In the interests of weigh gain I had a second helping of my favourites. I wish I'd had more cash on me because I would have bought double what I did, they are really delicious.

Talking of gaining weight, Peter did some research this morning and has calculated that in order to gain one pound per week a person of my starting weight and sedentary lifestyle needs to eat an extra 1000 calories a day. How one earth am I going to do that? One thing is for sure, creamy hot chocolate and a couple of handfuls of nuts each day just won't cut it. I'm going to need a rethink. An extra 1000 a day, that sounds like an impossible amount. I've got a feeling I'm going to need those lollies to suck on.

Strictly Watch

What a brilliant show. Everyone upped their game and some by a very large amount.

Lewis was brilliant, for me the best dance of the night but I have a distinct feeling that Craig has taken against him for some reason. Craig's remarks caused mayhem and I thought Len was going to punch him at one point.

I also love Richard's Charleston, it was fast and funny and suited him down to the ground, brilliant.

Bottom for me were Nicky, I find him really, really boring and poor old Michael, Latin really isn't his thing. Kimberley did well and once again I felt she beat Denise who constantly gives the impression of being utterly confident that she is the winner. I really hope someone knocks that smirk off her face soon. As for Victoria and Lisa, they seem to have ground to a halt.

The comedy this week was provided by Brendon and Robin who both managed very ungraceful falls. Brendon at the end of the routine and Robin when he wasn't even dancing!

So bottom two, got to be Nicky and Michael.

Right off to cook up some high fat, high calorie Cannelloni for lunch.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Andrew is home for the weekend and is hungry.

He was supposed to arrive for lunch but got caught up in the tailback cause by a huge accident on the M1. When he did finally arrive he was starving and scoffed down a big bowl of beef stew in seconds. Then he excitedly related all the things he'd learned over the last two weeks before whipping out a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff and checking me out. He says he needs practice and to be fair, apart from blowing the cuff up too tight and causing my hand to turn blue and tingle, he got my pressures spot on.

We then headed out to do some shopping. Andrew wanted to stock up on tinned tomatoes, pasta and rice so we headed for Costco in Milton Keynes. We decided to avoid the motorway and went across country instead. Everything was going fine until we tried to cross the roundabout over the M1 at junction 13 and found another huge accident. We were turned around and had to retrace our steps until we could take another route.

When we got to Costco my trike was quickly assembled and off we went. I zoomed around and bought loads of treats using the excuse of having to put on weight. We then moved onto to Tesco and this is where the only sour note of the day took place.

As I left Tesco's on my little trike with Peter beside me with the trolley and Andrew bringing up the rear, we passed two girls, both in their early twenties. To my horror they started pointing at me hooting at the top of their voices, even worse they followed me still hooting with laughter. Peter and I just ignored them but Andrew was furious and would have taken them on if I hadn't called him over. To do this I stopped and turned getting my first good look at them. Then I started laughing. This pair, who obvious thought I looked totally ridiculous were dressed in the following, from the top down. Croydon face lifts (this is where the hair is scrapped back into such a tight bun or pony tail it pulls the skin on the face tight), hair badly streaked with blond and obviously unwashed, heavy make up including false eyelashes, matching bright pink 'onesees' (the new craze for adult sized baby grows) and stained ugg boots. Now I think size six Cheryl Cole can just about pull the onesee look off but two size sixteen chavs certainly cannot. Peter and Andrew also started laughing and this unpleasant pair soon retreated back towards the store deeply offended.

Fortunately the drive home was straightforward and we were home and unpacked in no time at all. I spent the evening in front of the TV happily snacking on nuts, crisps, hot chocolate and grapes, well I can still eat my fruit of course.

This is the first weekend in a long time when I can truly say I feel at peace with the world again. I'm happy and relaxed and slept like a baby all night through instead of waking in the small hours and worrying about the future. I feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders and I can look to the future with hope instead of dread. This is a feeling I want to hold on to for as long as I can. To ensure this happens I have started my 'diet' and have swapped low fat for high fat. I discovered that by swapping from semi skimmed to full fat milk I'm gaining an extra twenty calories for every 100ml I drink. It doesn't sound much but having it in my porridge, Complan and hot chocolate it means I'm taking in an extra hundred calories or more a day without actually eating anything extra.I haven't tried the lolly trick yet but I haven't had too as I'm going through a rather stable period as far as my nausea is concerned though I have them on standby. I won't say anymore because I don't want to turn into a calorie counting bore.

Oh my goodness I am going to be so spoiled over the next few weeks. I'm A Celeb, Strictly and The Apprentice. I won't know what to watch first. My poor Tivo will be working overtime.

I finally got a leaflet through the door from one of the candidates for the PCC elections next week, yay!

In the news the sad deaths of Clive Dunn and Bill Tarmey have been reported. Both were TV icons in their day and will be sadly missed by legions of fans. I just hope someone doesn't decide to come forward with any scurrilous accusations about them.

Well my little gannet is making hungry noises so I'm off to start chopping up the veggies for a Ginger Beef Stir Fry. I don't know if I've ever posted the recipe for this so here it is.

For four people

250g thin slice beef strips. Marinade overnight in four table spoons of dark soy sauce and an inch of fresh ginger root, grated.

Thinly slice 1 red and 1 green pepper along with 1 medium carrot and approx 4 closed cup mushrooms.

Heat a wok until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates when dropped on the surface. Add about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and heat for a minute or two. Add the beef strips and stir quickly for 2 mins then add the veg and stir for a further 1 min. Finally add bean sprouts, noodles and/or precooked rice and stir for a further 2 mins. If there is not enough liquid to coat all the ingredients add another tablespoon of soy sauce. When throughly heated through serve immediately. This recipe also works well with pork and any other veg of your choice.

Right, now I've written it down I'd better go and do it.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Operation Doughnut

Well Peter took the 'must eat more' instruction to heart and came home on Wednesday with fifteen doughnuts, sigh!

So the news has more or less got to everyone now and the messages, texts, emails and phone calls have been overwhelming. I never knew I had so many friends. Thank you all so much. Yesterday reality hit and it was back to work, thankfully the day went quickly and I now have aching face muscles because I don't think I've ever smiled so much for so long. So now I have a whole weekend where I can celebrate properly, just not sure how yet.

So back to this eating business.

Well apart from the doughnuts I've come up with a few little ways I can try to up my food intake without overloading myself and being sick. I think the little and often approach is probably the best one as I still have trouble with big meals. The trick is going to be putting on the weight without causing more problems. So this is my plan. Swap my semi skimmed milk for full fat for my porridge, milkshakes and hot chocolate. Get some nuts and have a handful of them a couple of times a day and start taking my Complan again. Someone suggested getting some boiled sweets or lollies and sucking on them whenever I feel queasy, apparently it worked like a dream for her when she was pregnant. Well as I still have a bucket load from Halloween I'll give it a go, what harm can it do? I know it doesn't sound like much of a change but if I can keep it all down then I think I will be onto a winner. I've got to see a dietitian, who will probably rubbish all this but if I manage to gain a pound or two before my appointment at least it will prove I'm on the right track. My starting point is 47.2 kilos or approx 7 stones 3 pounds. By this time next week I'm hoping to be at least a kilo heavier.

So Obama is back in the White House and I missed the whole thing being stuck in hospital. I have to say I breathed a huge sigh of relief, Mitt Romney as President was just too terrifying to contemplate.

As for the other election, I still have no idea who the candidates are for the Police and Crime Commissioner in our area.

Talking about politicians no one can have escaped the latest furore concerning my own MP Noreen 'Mad Nad' Dorries (Conservative) and her up coming appearance on 'I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here'. Now let me say straight out I have no time for this woman at all so although I will try to be fair I might not be as fair as I could be.

To be honest I don't actually know what it is she does in parliament, apart from wind up the boss that is, so as far as I'm concerned she won't be missed. However there are people, some supporters, some not, who feel that taking off to Australia when she should be at home doing her job is an insult to those who voted for her. Her defence is that she wants to show the people back home that not all politicians are toffy nosed, posh boys and that some are from poor deprived background, just like some of the voters. Someone please tell me how eating bugs, sleeping on camp beds and getting cockroaches stuck up you nose relates in anyway to the deprived people of Britain. Is that what she thinks the poor do? She'd relate more if she slopped around the supermarket in her PJ's, fag in hand and trailed by fifteen different colored kids.

To be fair she is probably going to get more votes appearing in the jungle than she has ever got in an election. And she will probably end up doing most of the tasks so will end up getting the majority of the air time. So in a strange way she will get exactly what she's hoped for, she will become better known, she will show she can rough it and undoubtedly she will display all the qualities she'd hoped to keep well hidden. She has already been photographed sunbathing topless. However when she gets back she faces de-selection so her effort might be in wasted anyway.

As this is a balanced blog I'd also like to point out that former MP Margaret Moran (Labour) is up in court this week for fiddling her expenses.

And we scoff at other countries politicians.

Junior Apprentice Watch

Having got off to a slow start I was thrilled by this weeks episode. 

The task was to produce a cook book, simples, yes? Actually no, the girls team, Platinum, decided on a book for students and uniquely decided to put it in a cartoon form. OK the spelling left a lot to be desired, I mean who can't spell 'potatoes' for goodness sake, but the concept was acclaimed and they got orders by the bucketful.

Odyssey was joined by Maria from the girls team. A mouthy feminist she talked team leader Sean into ignoring the opinions of the focus group and basing their book on 'The Professional Woman.' Well when I say talked, I actually mean harangued, sulked, bullied and shouted down any other opinions before uniquely claiming no one else had any other ideas. The publishers hated it and they lost by a huge margin. In my opinion Maria lost them the task by her bullheadedness and should have been sacked. However Sean got the boot because as team leader he should not have allowed himself to be swayed into ignoring what his research was clearly telling him.

Strictly Watch

I cannot believe Colin has gone. I had him tipped for the final. 

Well a fun afternoon of shopping beckons and I'm expecting Andrew for lunch so I'd better get cooking.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Birthday Surprises

I don't know where to start. Maybe by saving what I'm writing every other sentence as the Internet connection in Papworth is a little temperamental to say the least and I don't want to keep having to write it all out again.

Little did I know that by the time I wrote this not only would I be older and America would be getting used to another four years with Obama but I would be within a inch of being listed for transplant. My head is still in a whirl and I keep having to ask the nurses if I heard correctly.

So what happened?

Well I set off to work Monday morning bag of cakes at the ready, as it was my birthday and taking cakes in is what you do, and looked forward to another stress filled four days before the bliss of my next day off and a good chill out. I'd just returned from a break when my mobile started vibrating in my pocket. I looked at the screen and it said withheld number so I very nearly turned it off but something made me answer it. To my surprise it was Ann, one of the transplant nurses, asking if I could come in for assessment there and then and if so could I get there by half past one. After a moments hesitation, well it was my birthday, I decided to go for it and agreed.

A quick chat with my supervisor and I was on my way, while Peter rushed around at home packing my bag. I grabbed a sandwich while I unpacked and repacked my bag and then we were off. We made it with ten minutes to spare and then it was a complete whirl. ECHO, ECG, lung function tests and the dreaded bike test. By the time I hit the ward I was shattered but I was welcomed by a chorus of 'Happy Birthday' from the nurses and made to feel extremely welcome. I was told that they were due to do blood tests, another armful, but as it was my birthday they would leave it until the morning. I was them presented with a large mug, a proper mug that is, of sweet tea and some chocolate biscuits and left to settle in. Peter went home and I set about letting my sons, family and friends what had happened.

The next day I was woken early and by eight was on my way down for an x-ray, a walk test and a repeat of one of my lung function tests as they wanted to check a result. Back on the ward and the dreaded bloods and then a visit from various people who wanted to check out my mental state, I'm not mad despite all evidence to the contrary, my diet, and what help I'd have post transplant. They were most impressed that I have a trainee paramedic in the family, that 'would be useful' apparently.

The afternoon was taken up with the 'transplant talk' where it was made very clear that transplant means a life long commitment and lots of pills. I pointed out that I already have a lifelong commitment to my IV pump and would gladly swap that for a lifetime of pill taking, tests and monitoring as at least in between I could do things. I was told I had a good attitude and passed on to the consultant.

I was slightly disheartened when she shook her head and said 'I don't know what's going on here'. My thought were instantly that at the very least I would need more tests, possibly horrible one but I need not have worried.

'I have been through all the test results that we have done, and the ones Harefield and the Brompton have done, and I can't find a single reason why Harefield turned you down.'

My jaw nearly hit the floor as she went on to say that I do not need a new heart as mine is in remarkably good shape for someone in my condition. In her opinion I am as good a candidate as any one else and she would happily list me for a bi-lateral lung transplant. She has phone and rung Harefield several times asking as to why they rejected me and read out a letter she'd received saying 'after due consideration we are refusing transplant because we consider Hazel to be of too great risk and chances of a good outcome as very poor.' However they have consistently refused to give an exact reason, how strange!

Papworth see it entirely differently and although I do carry a higher risk because of my previous surgery, it is not insurmountable and they've successfully transplanted worse. The surgeons will still have to review all my scans and might order a different scan so they can see where all the old scaring is and try to determine whether they will need to alter a few things to work round it but that is something they would have to do with anyone with previous surgery.

The other fly in the ointment is my weight. My BMI is just under 18 and ideally they want me up to a 19 or 20 to be comfortable as it would drastically improve my recovery. She said that if I couldn't put the weight on naturally then they would have to put a tube into my stomach and feed me through that as I slept each night. I need no other motivation and one of my future appointments will be with the dietitian to come up with a plan. The trick is going to be to put on the weight without clogging up my arteries. My diet is extremely healthy but there just isn't enough of it. I joked about McDonalds and got a stern look along with the comment, 'let's not undo all the good work shall we'. Point taken.

So after I've seen the surgeons, hopefully next week, and had the few remaining tests they are hoping to have me listed by Christmas. The consultant's parting shot was 'with you we can't afford to hang around, I want you on the list as soon as possible.' Fine by me.

So I'm sitting here waiting for discharge with my head reeling, still trying to grasp what exactly happened. All I can say is this years birthday is going to be a hard one to forget.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Importance Of Being Idle

There are two elections coming up in November, though you are likely to know more about the one across the pond that the one taking place closer to home.

On November 15th we are supposed to be voting for the new Police and Crime Commissioner. Now I was totally unaware of even the date of this election until very recently and still do not know who the candidates are or what they stand for. So far I haven't had one leaflet through the door let alone anyone turning up to chat.

I suspect there are ways to find out, the local papers would be a good place to start but here is another problem. My village is just outside the catchment area for the Bedford papers and also just outside the catchment for the Luton papers and as a result we don't get any papers. Normally this is not a problem as to be fair I would bin them anyway but when something important is happening I'd at least like to read up on it.

So will I be voting for anyone, well to be honest no because I don't believe in blind voting. And to be frank if the candidates can't be bothered to canvass me then I can't be bothered to vote for them.

My trip to the book fair didn't happen. After struggling to put my trike together I sat down to rest and have a cup of tea before venturing out only to wake up at half past four a full hour and a half after the fair closed. Drat! To be fair I must have been pretty tired to just keel over like that but it is depressing to feel you can't even rely on yourself anymore.

Still tired I hit the sack early last night and woke around eight wondering if it were still the middle of the night. It was so dark I could hardly see across the room and that was with the curtains drawn back. I got up to peer out of the window, took one look and headed back to bed. It was filthy out there, heavy rain and high wind, enough to make me want to stay in bed. So I did, well for an hour while reading the papers then it was across the corridor to lie back in warm scented water and listen to the rain beating against the window of the bathroom for another twenty minutes.

By then I had pretty much run out of excuses so dressed and staggered downstairs to scour the cupboards for something I could sling together for lunch. Having settled on creamy cheese and tomato pasta bake I headed for the kitchen slung all the ingredients together and slammed it into the oven.

As I waited for the bake to cook I watched the garden from the patio doors and was slightly alarmed to find the patio was filling up with water. We've never had a flood but there is always a first time and whenever I see water creeping towards the back doors I feel a little shiver of panic. The greenery has changed seemly overnight as most of the leaves are now a reddish yellow, while the Silver Birch is shedding like there is no tomorrow and carpeting the lawn in gold. It was only last week that I was looking at the tree in bright sunshine and marvelling at how late it had kept it's leaves this year. Obviously I spoke to soon.

I watched as another blast rained leaves down like snowflakes and I mentally made notes of all the jobs that need doing. Not by me unfortunately and certainly not in this weather. I made a note of how far up the water had come and then headed into the living room to continue my day of sloth while waiting for the Grand Prix to start.

I am not good at doing nothing, anyone who knows me will testify that I will shift heaven and earth to carry on as normal but there is a lot to be said for being idle sometimes, especially when you are ill. I've been idle, OK, idle for me, for two days now and have actually quite enjoyed the experience. Not only has it give me time to recharge physically but also mentally and emotionally too. I never realised how important down time can be but I think it is time to start appreciating being lazy from time to time. I'm sure I'm going to be healthier and happier for it.

I'm back at work tomorrow but I can't say I'm looking forward to it. After a period of sickness I usually cannot wait to get back into the swing of things but now my overwhelming feeling is 'why am I doing this?' I can only think that the weather, my impending trip to Papworth and my being ill again have all conspired
to send me into hermit mode and make me want to stay at home. Maybe I'm embracing this new desire to be lazy more fully than I thought or maybe it is because I've had another scare and work is no longer so important in the great scheme of things, who knows? However I think it is more to do with the six o'clock start. I can do this with no problem at all in the summer when the mornings are light and filled with birdsong. It is entirely different when it is cold, dark and wet. I'm sure humans were meant to hibernate.

Strictly Watch

Maybe it was because of the lack of gimmicks or just the weather but the show seemed to lack some of it's sparkle last night. 

Poor Richard forgot his steps, Fern was unconvincing in the Paso and Lisa managed to look constipated during the Tango. Even Louis and Colin were not as brilliant as they have been in recent weeks. Michael proved last week was not just a flash in the pan but he is doing Latin next week so if I were him I'd enjoy it while I can. In a very bland week no one really stood out for me unfortunately. Denise ended up top of the leader board but I though Kimberley was better.

Bottom two? Well unless he gets a huge sympathy vote I think Richard is a certainty, then either Fern or Nicky but what do I know, I've got it all totally wrong up to now.

By the time I next write America will have a new president and I will have had a birthday, next blog Friday.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Get On Your Trike And Ride

Someone decided to use my blog to try and whip up some business yesterday.

They attached a comment to my 'Considering The Future' post advertising accountancy services. What made this advert laughable was that is contained numerous spelling mistakes and was grammatically incorrect. In fact if it were not for the word Accountancy it would have been hard to work out what this person was advertising. The post has now been deleted but if you happened to see it please be assured it was not authorised by me.

The trip to the supermarket was quite successful.

I found a disabled bay quite near the doors and parked up and then sat for a while working out how much I needed to buy. I decided in the end that I wouldn't use my trike, it would be difficult to carry a basket on it and I definitely couldn't push a trolley around with it.

Instead I opted to use my oxygen and take it slowly. I hooked the bottle to the back of a trolley and set off. Progress was slow but it gave me more time to stop and look at things. I got what I'd come out for and, as I was feeling pretty good took a wander through the aisles, not with any intent to buy but just to enjoy the feeling of browsing. So how did I end up with £50 worth of stuff when I went intending to get a few carrots and a swede? Even more mysterious was the collection of treats. A large chocolate bar, a large packet of tortilla crisps and a bag of unshelled monkey nuts. What on earth did I buy them for? I don't even like them that much and much prefer to buy my nuts shelled if I can. The other stuff will at least be eaten/be used in time but monkey nuts in their shells? I'm a danger to myself, that is all I can say.

Back home I put together a quick lunch and then set about preparing the Cawl. Once on and heating up nicely I took myself and my snacks off to the living room and settled down to watch a film. By the end half the chocolate and half the crisps were gone, washed down by a can of ginger beer. I know the doctor's have told me to eat as much as I can but I'm not sure this is what they had in mind. Experiencing something of a sugar rush I quickly whipped through the ironing and tidied the living room. I skipped tea and joined Peter in a bowl of Cawl when he arrived home later that evening. Unfortunately eating so late and the excess sugar meant a restless night so I'm not exactly feeling at my best this morning.

However I am undeterred by my trip out and this afternoon I'm planning to visit a book fair that is taking place at my local Methodist Hall. I noticed the signs when passing yesterday. This will mean assembling my trike and going out into the big bad world alone. I'm a bit nervous as to get there I will have to negotiate the same patch of road that I got tipped over on. Having said that I have now had quite a bit of practice so I'm not expecting any problems and if absolutely necessary I'll just get off and walk the trike past that particular pothole. I have to say I'm looking forward to another excursion and this time I'm just taking cash so I can't go mad and end up buying the 1977 collection of Encyclopedia Britannica.

In the news the latest dead person to be accused of sexual abuse is Leonard Rossiter. The accuser is male and was eighteen at the time of the alleged offence. When did the alleged offence take place? Way back in the 1960's and yet, despite Rossiter being dead almost twenty years this person has only felt able to come forward now.

As I've said before I feel nothing but sympathy for the victims of Savile and his cronies but I still do not get why nothing was said about any of them at the time. Were they all so important to the BBC that everything possible was done to protect them? It just doesn't make sense and is bound to throw up suspicions about 'jumping on the band waggon' especially when the accused cannot defend themselves.

One person who is still with us, though by the look of him not for much longer, is Freddie Starr. He got his wish this week and has been questioned by police twice and released on bail, so far without charge. It will be interesting to see what happens next and if he found to be totally innocent then how many other claims will be dismissed. After all if you cannot prove it happened with someone still alive, how are you going to prove it happened with someone dead?

Tarmac, I am pleased to say, has now fully recovered from his bug and to look at him you would not think there was anything wrong with him. I got lots of loves this morning and soon found out why. I had a present awaiting me. Neatly laid out on the dining room floor. Looks like things are back to normal, for now.

Well got to get my trike assembled. I'm going to try and do it in under the hour this time, if you remember last time I couldn't even work out how to unfold the thing. I've had a bit of practice since then and now know where all the clips are so it should be dead easy, I hope.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Catching Up

Well I am still with my lolly pop mountain. I had hoped that as it was a fine dry night the trick or treaters would take a chance and come around a day late but it wasn't to be.

Feeling better I decided to keep my date with my best friend and I'm so glad I did. There is nothing like a good natter with someone you utterly trust to clear the mind and make you feel more like your old self.

We met twenty years ago, became firm friends and have been in and out of each others lives ever since. We may not see each other as often as we should but we are always there for each other for the important things. It was like stepping back in time the minute I got out of the car. We are so comfortable together that there is none of that awkwardness you sometimes get with someone you haven't seem for a while. We chatted and laughed and I was stunned to see how grown up her children were, time really does fly far too fast. By the time I left my spirits were totally uplifted and I felt happier than I have in a long, long time. Diana is the sort of friend everyone should have. She doesn't judge, she doesn't fuss and she sees me as I was when we first met, not as I am now. I am so, so lucky to have found her. We made a firm agreement to meet up again in the New Year and I can't wait.

I cannot express my joy and sheer delight to find that the Young Apprentice is back on our screens and the contestants are lining up to be a truly awful lot.

Of course being the first episode it was difficult to get a handle on all the contestants straight off. I quite liked the mad fashion designer, Patrick I think is his name, and the trainee accountant who headed the girls team and by putting her foot down won them the task.

I have already identified two annoyances though.  An Irish girl who had a tendency to pout if she didn't get her own way, as she didn't when it came to spending money, and rather fancies herself as the next Alan Sugar. She answered a direct question by reeling off her entire CV and got firmly slapped down for her efforts.

My early front runner though has to be 'personal tutor' David. How do you become a personal tutor at seventeen? Anyway to my delight he announced that 'whatever ever you think I am that is who I am.' The immediate word that sprang to mind was 'twit'! Roll on next week.

I am on my own again today so potential for mischief abounds. However mindful of my recent illness I've decided to spend the majority of the day on the settee with Harry Potter. I say majority as I'm planning a quick raid at our local supermarket. Peter won't be home until gone eight tonight so I want to get a Cawl (Welsh stew) bubbling away in the slow cooker so it is ready for when he gets home. This means popping out to get the ingredients. It will be a quick shop and will just mean a quick scurry around the veg aisle.Now I know that for most people this does not sound like mischief but believe me when you have not been out shopping on your own for going on two years it feels naughty. I might even celebrate with a chocolate bar.

In the news I was outraged to read of a woman being thrown off a Ryan Air flight for carrying a small scroll and a paperback in her hands rather than in her bag. This action is classed as having excess baggage by Ryan Air and carries a fine of £50 which by all accounts she refused to pay. The result of this defiance was the woman being forcibly escorted off the plane by two policemen. This is the same airline that still charges its disabled customers for in flight oxygen and wants to charge to fly people standing up. How are they still in business?

We had a text from Andrew today regarding his bike insurance.

Despite having been riding without event for three years and having passed his test the insurance people still want to charge him £500. Even more outrageous this is only third party, fire and theft and an excess of, wait for it........£1,400. That is more than his bike is actually worth. However this was the cheapest he could find and so took it. Now he's had a call to say they've made a huge mistake and have offered him no excess for £50 extra. Still not a great deal, it has to be said, but better.

Below is my recipe for Cawl, true Cawl involves hours of boiling bones etc but I'm beyond all that so this is the quick version.

For eight people
500g diced beef or lamb
250g each of carrots, swede, potato, parsnip all diced or sliced.
1 large onion sliced
2 small or one large leek sliced
Bouquet Garni bag
A good twist of freshly ground black pepper
A small pinch of salt
2 beef or veg stock cubes

If you have time brown the meat in a little oil and set aside to drain.
Layer the veg into the slow cooker or casserole dish and place the meat on top. Push the bouquet bag down into the middle and season dish well. Dissolve the stock cubes in half a pint of water and pour over the top. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on slow and serve with herby dumplings or if you want to be really traditional cheese and bread. If you don't have a slow cooker place in a slow over approx 160C for up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

For the veggie version just replace the meat with veg of your choice.

I always make this quantity as it freezes and microwaves well and makes a quick satisfying meal on a cold evening when you can't be bothered to cook.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Scooby Do Where Are You?

Well as far as Halloween nights go last night was a complete wash out, literally.

I was poised, bucket of lollies at the ready, from five o;clock but as the evening wore on it soon became clear that I was going to be left with them. Maybe it was the lack of pumpkin or maybe the bad weather, which got worse as the night went on, but I didn't get a single caller. I was amazed as last year we were inundated. I don't think it was just us though as watching from the window I saw no one roaming the streets apart from commuters and the usual dog walkers. How weird is that? However it now leaves me with a bucket full of uneaten sweets that will take Pete and I at least a year to finish.

My mystery illness is a virus, no doubt about it. The glands in my neck and throat are up and my throat looks very red and feels scratchy. I've still got to wait for blood test results to ensure no infection but I am relieved to say the least. My lungs are crystal clear but I have been given more antibiotics to be kept on standby just in case things change. Other than that there is nothing they can do so the advice is get plenty of rest, drink as much as I can and just ride it out. I am feeling so much better today so I'm obviously beginning to shake it off anyway. I still have the dry throat and mouth and my chest still feels a bit 'raw' but my cough has reduced and I'm feeling hungry again. The nausea is being looked into as it might be that I'm getting used to the pill I take. As for the increase in the Flolan, well it is possible that I will need to do that sometime soon but this will be discussed fully when I go to see them at the end of November.

So with a bit of luck I'll be back fighting fit in a couple of days. Another crisis averted.

Lay in bed last night listening to the wind lash the rain against the window. I love stormy nights when I'm warm and snug and can just lie and listen. It is a small pleasure in life, and some would say a rather weird one, but each to there own. The only thing that was missing was the roar of the sea hitting the promenade wall. I do sometimes really miss not living by the sea anymore.

The windy weather has brought out a pest that only seems to appear in autumn.

Tree surgeons, well supposed tree surgeons. Twice yesterday we had someone knocking on our door asking us if we wanted out Silver Birch 'trimmed'. The answer is always the same, 'no' but they keep coming. The tree is my absolute pride and joy and yet ever since we moved in twenty years ago people have wanted to cut it down. Not our neighbours but strangers who just seem to take exception to it and see it as a way to may a quick buck. The tree is fully mature now, and strong and healthy. It stood firm through the 1987  'hurricane' and has stayed firm ever since but our callers are not convinced. I think I've heard every argument as to why I should allow this butchery and for tree surgeons they are surprisingly ignorant about this particular tree.

'The roots will spread and undermine your foundations."
"No, the roots of the Silver Birch grow in the same way as the branches and go straight down."
"The roots will damage pipes and electricity cables."
"There are no pipes or cables in our back garden, we've checked."
"The height it is makes it unstable and any high wind is likely to uproot it. Trees should not be allowed to grow that tall."
"Have you heard of the Giant Redwood?"

Eventually they do go away, but for two or three months every year, mostly spring and autumn we are bombarded with callers and leaflets. It is very annoying to say the least.

A word of advice, never use a Lush massage bar as an emergency moisturiser no matter how desperate you are.

I have very dry skin in the winter and I noticed this morning that I needed a bit of  moisture after getting out of the shower. I've been meaning to buy some body lotion for weeks but keep forgetting and the only thing I had to hand was one of the massage bars. So I rubbed it all over and to be fair it has relieved the tight, itchy feeling but I'm now as slick as an otter and am leaving greasy marks on the arms of my study chair. I think this might need a re-think, some soap and a flannel and a trip out for Peter to pick an alternative up.

In the newspaper this morning I read a story entitled 'The Unluckiest Woman Alive'.

This is a story of a thirty year old mum who has had four cancers in her short lifetime and is about to start chemo for another one. I have nothing but sympathy for her plight but would argue the title of the piece. Although I would agree that she has been incredibly unlucky is she really the unluckiest person alive? I suspect other cancer sufferers along with those suffering from PH, MS or any other progressive, debilitating illnesses might beg to differ.

On the news I watched a New Yorker being interviewed and bemoaning the fact that he had to walk to work because the subway is still down. He spoke as though he was personally insulted by the enforced exercise. In New York the subway will be back up and running by next week and his life will return to normal. Did he give any thought to those still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina seven years later. No!

Well better go and degrease myself, until tomorrow.