Monthly Archives: February 2013

Wind from proverbial sails.

I’ve prevaricated enough. For the last 3 hours I’ve sat here in front of the computer doing things automatically, answering mail, trying to be funny, showing an interest, anything rather than this. A friend who is in touch most day and always asks me about Ju told me not to forget that my good friends here would be looking for updates.

I said I was holding back for now to give the hospice time to work on the drug dosages so that I could announce Ju was coming home. Well, on Saturday Ju announce she’d be home tomorrow and was going riding on Wednesday. I know the Doctor had told her ” Do whatever you want to do” ( No she’s not related to Alistair Crowley for all you black magicians out there), but I imagined she meant to add ” within reason”.

Yesterday ( Sunday for all you reading any day other than Monday) Yvonne, Ugo and I took Ju out for lunch. Yvonne had bought Ju a new dress. Very loose and soft so it didn’t hurt her stomach, and a lightweight jacket. It wasn’t far to travel and when we got there Ju was delighted to find my two nieces that we can’t shake off  adore. The meal was lovely though Ju didn’t eat much and when it came to an end she started complaining of feeling sick and bloated which is a problem at most mealtimes. She was also suffering some discomfort from a pair of light tights she was wearing. So we took her back to the hospice and she changed back into a nightdress and lay down. She stayed that way the whole afternoon.

Today I wrote a list of questions for the doctor at the hospice about things like is there anything to control the feeling of nausea after eating. Things I need to know for when she comes home. I took it in when I went there at lunchtime. One of my nephews and his wife was there. They’d just come from the hospital where David had been checked after having had cancer lasered from one side of his throat recently. He still has the other side to go. His poor tongue was swollen and he was speaking in a high pitched whisper.As usual we threw insults towards each other in fun. When they left I checked with Ju that tomorrow was still the day and she said “Yes, then riding Wednesday.” On the basis of not being able to wear tights yesterday I asked her to reconsider. After all how would she manage with jodhpurs. If she said she could do it, fine, but I wanted her to think about it. She did and decided she wouldn’t manage and would I mind her staying in the hospice one more day to be sure the drugs were right. I don’t mind at all. There is a fear that she’s coming home because of me rather than because she should. As my carer ( laugh inserted here) she feels she should be home. That’s the wrong reason. Then she stood up to give me a hug and told me she’d been afraid to tell me before (everyone else knew) that she’s been told it’s a matter of weeks now rather than months.

We’ve gone from the expectation of having some excess fluid drained to a sudden death sentence in less than a week and I’m still reeling from it. I don’t know what to say or what to do. I’m sure some of you will think I’m irreverent for adding jokes in a blog post this serious but I promise it’s a defence mechanism. If I don’t joke what do I do? So all I can say is I’m sorry I’ve had to relay the news like this. Hell I’m sorry I’ve had to relay it at all. But I will try to keep you posted as Ju and I try to defy the odds again and astound the medical profession. I always tell her about the wonderful comments you make and she’s always grateful and sends her thanks and love back. I as always say thank you and send Huge Hugs to all ( Bro-Hugs to men).

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Interlude

It’s been a funny old day. First thing this morning a friend took me shopping and it went well. I got what I wanted, she spoke to the staff for me and I paid. We came home and she left after which I expected a very relaxing day. If I ever find out who jinxed me heaven help them.

A knock at the door this afternoon. Normally I’d be on the computer and able to hide away and ignore the sound. Today I was just passing the door which has a half glazed panel. I had to open the door to a 6’4″ skinny giant. Thankfully I didn’t have to speak as he introduced himself as the council electrician come to repair a pull light and an electrical socket. He was a nice man and after being pointed towards the bathroom went to get his tools and proceeded to fix a new string to the light. I spoke long enough to enquire if he needed a ladder only for him to laugh and just reach up. It was only moments before the job was done. On to the next job.

Passing through he saw the cages and asked how many rats I have. “Four” I answered “and three degus”. “Three what?” he asked but was such a helpful man I didn’t have to speak as he answered his own question “Oh, these delightful little chaps” he said. Please bear that in mind.

The second job was a socket in the kitchen. The story starts about two months ago when Ju asked me if our fridge had a light. I told her of course it did and she said in that case the fridge is defrosting. Such sarcasm and it beat me saying that we were due anyway. So, I checked out the plug and put in a new fuse and tried again. No joy.

With food defrosting and panic setting in I decided the fridge must be defunct. Off we went and spent a pleasant £83 on a new one. We get it home and know it has to stand in place for five hours so I manhandle the old one outside and Ju rings for it to be collected as rubbish. My old friend complete with midge fragnets looks quite forlorn outside the front door.

Five hours later Ju plugs in the new fridge and asks me if there’s meant to be a light. Aargh. I try it in a different socket and lo’ it comes on. Getting an extension cable I push the fridge into it’s new home. Now I have two working fridges one which is due to be scrapped and it’s cost me a fortune to find out I have a faulty socket. So, the nice man comes to mend it. ” You do know about the defrost switch we put in for fridges don’t you?” he asked. I shook my head dimly. Moving aside some trays he points to what I always thought was an immersion heater switch. He presses it and the socket becomes operational again. Just putting a tray back must have knocked it off. All the time he was here I heard about his two dogs, 5 cats, wife, children and their appetites which he’d swap for a cage of rats. I thanked him with some sweets for his children.

That’s it. I’m officially out to the world now while I finish my mail. That done I return to the kitchen and realise the fish tank is dark because I forgot to turn it on this morning,. A rush of apologies there and a little food and I’m forgiven.Going back through I realise I need to give the girls clean water and some food. Bernie and Priya are first for a treat but Amy and Peny aren’t far behind. With Amy I have to be quick as she snatches and doesn’t mind a bit of finger. Odd, as when she’s out she’s nervy but a perfect lady. There, everything OK in their world. Degu’s next.                                                           All three Saffy, Poppy and the one I can never remember, came flying towards the door as I brought food. They’re gregarious animals, very bright and like humans but very quick. I opened the door and inserted my hand to drop the food. As I did Saffy squeezed past and made a break for it. I dropped the food and shut the door again sharpish to keep the others in.

I sat down with a ball and a peanut and called Saffy. She’s so scared of me she strolled over and sat on my knee. Like a flash she had the peanut from my hands before I could drop it in the ball and make her go after it. I got some yoghurt drops and popped them inside the open ball while she watched me. Then, as calmly as you like she climbed down the side of the settee and disappeared into the kitchen. I spent almost an hour polishing the kitchen floor with my trouser knees but although she was happy to come to me when I called her name she was not going in the ball. Eventually I gave up and went back through to sit on the settee with another peanut in hand. I called her and like an angel she answered me. In the ball went the peanut and in the ball went Saffy. I picked the ball up and carried it to the cage. Dalmation ! I couldn’t open the door one handed. She thought I had it open and jumped ready to be a good girl and go in. Instead she hit the closed door and hopped it again.

I had to loosen the door enough to be able to open it one handed but not enough for her daughters to escape. Fifteen minutes later Saffy followed a yoghurt drop into the ball and I was able to get the cage open and her in. As I did, the one I can’t remember jumped straight into the ball expecting to be allowed to go for a roll round. I’m sure she was disappointed when she was manhandled straight back into the cage. I’d had enough degu chasing for one day and I’d missed my Big Bang Theory. So much for a peaceful day.

 

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Our Thanks for Kindness Shown.

All our friends have been so kind following the progress of Julia on my blog. Actually the only reason I share it is to get visitors here anyway.  Today wasn’t a day I was expecting to share anything but laughs about releasing trapped wind but it’s fair I share the truth.

Julia and I arrived at 3.30 for our 4.00 pm appt. Despite the fact we were meeting with Dr. Hotlips we expected to be alone as Ju was to have the drainage done on her distended stomach. But, rather than pass up a chance to leer, one of my nieces dashed there from work to join us. At 4’45 we were still sitting there and there were still others waiting. When we checked they were all for our oncologist with earlier appointments than us. Somehow the glazed eyed staff had managed to double book everyone and the list was running about an hour and a quarter late according to Dr. Hottie’s nurse. The chances of getting the drainage done today were fading fast and Ju was in pain from sitting.

This morning our own doctor had descended upon us at home to check on us both which meant to roast me about not going very often and to give Julia a new prescription for her morphine at an increased dose AGAIN to try and control the pain. Ju had decided to start them tomorrow.

To our surprise and that of the people before us we were called in at 4.50 pm. The oncologist sat us down and picked up the report from the scan. He told us there wasn’t much fluid trapped and there wouldn’t be a drain. That was a major surprise after what we’d been led to believe by him, the scanner ( sounds better than scan technician) and the MacMillan Nurse. While my niece and I were still taking it in Julia asked whether the welling was then a direct result of the tumour. You could hear the regret in his voice as he answered a simple “Yes”. Taking the bull by the horns at this point she asked whether she’d still be here in August. I’ve suggested that the gap left between question and reply was big enough to run a London Bus through. He eventually replied “I can’t answer that” but his face did.

Julia shows strength and determination on the outside but I saw her diminish in size. Dr McHottie asked if she would agree to go into a hospice for a few days at least to try and get the level of morphine right to control the pain. She agreed and it’s arranged for tomorrow morning. This will be an opportunity for her to decide if she prefers a hospice later on or would rather be at home which is what I’d prefer. No-one knows at what speed this monster will travel now or whether we’ll be able to talk about treatments like radiofrequency ablation which our daughter found. This is a form of killing the cancer by burning it out but can it be done when the evil thing has wrapped itself round major blood vessels?

So there we are. A day we weren’t expecting and one I’ll never adapt to. I want to thank on behalf of both of us all our wonderful friends who’ve visited to keep up to date with Ju’s treatment and who’ve left messages of such positivity to keep us going. Sorry but there’ll be no windy jokes today. xx Hugs to you all.

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Fear.

It’s rare I make two posts in a week let alone in one day but I experienced fear least night and today that makes me seek favours.

I have not been well for a few days. I’m aware it’s largely my own fault in not having chased up the doctors for more anti-biotics to get rid of the latest chest infection. To be honest, I had three lots last year one after the other without clearing one and I thought why bother? Last night my chest was tight and trying to get relief I finished the spray specific as a reliever. I knew I was going to request a new one on Monday and thought that would be OK. I’d be uncomfortable bit so what I already was.  There was little I could do as Ju was already in bed since 6 pm suffering her own discomfort.

By 11 pm I was struggling for breath and couldn’t even get undressed for bed. I was already sitting upright in my chair and decided to stay in that position as being best. Some of you will understand me saying it was the most difficult night I have spent  in my life since childhood asthma attacks. It’s important to relax the muscles and almost impossible to do so since you’re trying to force air into your lungs. By 7.30 am today I was tired and decided to force myself to go take my meds for the day and wake Ju to see to the girls as I wouldn’t be able to approach the cages today. Ju was scared when she came through and I tried to brush it off but I wasn’t able to take the meds and standing up took most of my strength. Ju called an ambulance .

The driver was there by 8.am and was horrified when she got here. She took Sats and found my oxygen levels at about 63% immediately giving me an oxygen mask. She called for back up and another ambulance arrived. They took me aboard carefully propping me up and giving me more oxygen and cortico steroids. I was in A & E quite quickly where they fought to get the Sats up with three nebulisers. Ju had followed in the car but they wouldn’t let her through.  I was so sorry I’d messed up her roast lamb dinner.

By 12 pm my oxygen levels were back up and I was able to breathe fairly easily. Hard as it is for me to speak to people I had no choice and explained why I could not be admitted and had to go home again. Dr Gupta must have understood the urgency because he came to see me to extract a promise. Any recurrence and I’d go back straight away. I’d see my own doctor about the infections this week and that he’s issue me a relief spray to replace mine with also a new one which is a cortico-steroid, two shots to be taken twice a day for five days to give my doctor chance to decide how long to continue it as it’s quite strong. I had no hesitation in agreeing since I was scared at how close I’d come to losing Ju. The staff nurse told me of a chemist that opened all day, furnished me with a prescription and by 1.pm we were leaving.

At home the lamb dinner became a sandwich but I couldn’t eat and just nodded off after a quick look at emails. At teatime I had some fruit and toast though. Tonight I must rest early and must wear the alarm pendant through the night just in case. This has made me realise that perhaps life is more fragile that we expect and though Ju has her vile illness I could still die first. Should that prove to be the case I must say thanks to all my friends who’ve shown me such magnificent support during these terrible months. You’ve been kind enough to listen to me and keep me on the right path. The favours I now ask is that should anything happen to me, you carry on with your support of Ju through my daughter on ebay.  Yvonne Eboh. I know she’d place as high a value on it as I do. Thank you all. Hugs. xxxxxxx

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A Hideous Spirit

Recently I featured a poem by myself. A rank amateur and someone with little interest in the field. But, today a friend from the Author’s Den site shared one of his many poems with me and I was so affected that I thought I’d share this with you. I hope you like it as much as I do.

A Hideous Spirit 

A smiling face that hid loathsome strategies

still haunts the shadows, lurking with predatory instinct,

ravenous in relentless pursuit of impossible dreaming.

A heart once embraced by lustful passion

destroyed by a Vampire’s thoughtless scheming.

Hideous spirit, you took what was not yours to take.

Your charm and transient grace would manifest fake.

Fingers, dancing delicately over a heaving breast

with voluptuous elegance you conned my heart

into feeling safe. Yet you tore it from my chest,

splintering sensual pleasure for a lifetime of pain

because you thought it best.

Now a cadaverous shell I lay,

my heart at your feet

on a canvas less painted in blood.

Pages of a life ripped from a spine-broke-book,

fly like leaves cracking on a withering wind

blown in disarray across a dispassionate wasteland.

Scattered to oblivion – a history lost to that look.

© P. Williams 2004 revised 2013

 

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Howling at the Moon

It’s been a frustrating week. ( Behave yourselves, I’m not talking about THAT). On Tuesday Julia finally had the scan to ascertain whether the distended stomach was due to fluid and if so, whether it could be drained. Well we found out it is fluid which ruled out my phantom pregnancy theory from dreaming about Tom Selleck. For some strange reason there’s more fluid on the right than the left and more at the bottom than the top though I would have thought gravity was responsible for the last bit. As it was fairly late on Tuesday we decided to wait until Wednesday evening for the Oncologist (Dr.Hotlips) to see the scan results and the MacMillan Nurse to get the same information so she could arrange for the fastest doctor to perform the drain in order to relieve the pain. Wednesday evening came and went and I began to see that we were treating this as far more urgent than they were.

On Thursday we rang and left a message for the Nurse. We couldn’t get any answer from the Oncology department. Still no ring back by Thursday evening. Today we went out early to do the weekly shop before anyone else gets up. I have to sneak Julia out of the house so the girls can’t see her as it’s the one day she doesn’t get them out to play first thing. She suffers a terrible conscience and fears being seen as she’ll have no choice but to go back and play with them. Huh, I don’t think so ! We meet our daughter at the supermarket and she goes round with me while my other keeper sits with a coffee in the McDonalds. Shopping done I’m allowed a coffee and a bacon roll ( diabetic approved of course) before heading for home.

Waiting at home was an appointment card for next Tuesday 19th at 4 o’clock to see Dr McHottie. It gives us no information at all. I confess that I’m getting very wound up at this point and the slightest remark could have me screwing myself into the ground. We unpack the shopping and I suggest Ju speaks to the hospital to see if she can clarify if this is a speaking appointment or an all action appointment that might require a nightie ( tut tut, for an overnight stay on the ward of course). We can’t speak to the Doctor and the receptionist is vague- it’s usually just a consultation unless otherwise notified is her response. In frustration and because my lip is lacerated from biting it, we leave another message for the MacMillan Nurse.

We enjoyed lunch, or to put it another way, Ju and I couldn’t eat but Yvonne enjoyed hers – that’s another story. Then mid afternoon Yvonne has to depart for home and a further shopping expedition with her husband. Ugo of the non-stop stomach who is currently suffering badly having given up chocolate for Lent. That’s like taking milk from a baby or a yoghurt drop from one of our rats. The phone rang after she’d gone and it was finally the Scarlet Pimpernel Nurse. Finally we get some sense but all of a sudden I don’t want to hear. I want to go out and howl at the moon, I want to curse and swear.  Yes, the likelihood ( not definite??) is that the draining will be performed on Tuesday. BUT, while there is a fluid problem, it’s not great enough to be causing the pain. That’s much more likely to be something pressing on the bowels which would also account for Julia not going to the loo very often or easily these days. Something we reported months ago and were given laxatives for and then something to clear up any excess looseness should that occur.

I’m no genius , though I’d be grateful if you didn’t tell my family that, but I think I’ve worked out what could be pressing on the bowels. OK, maybe there’s nothing that could have been done to prevent it, but I’ve been saying for a long time that a scan to let us know the growth might help even if it’s only to be prepared for things like this.

I’m sure the bald patches in my scalp will grow back soon, but poor Ju isn’t very happy, in fact she’s quite low, as this news came out of the blue and it hits home what an illness she has and what it’s doing. Before that she was convinced the drainage of the fluid would result in being virtually pain free again. If I had a million pounds to spare we’d be flying out next Wednesday on a tour of the places she hasn’t been to ( everywhere except Florida years ago and Prague). Sunshine enough to brighten her flagging spirits. I’m truly sorry for anyone with cancer but I’ve lost so many of my family this way I think I’ve given enough and only have time for Julia now.

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A Very British Blog Tour

Fine author Clive Eaton ( The Pyramid Legacy) has kindly invited me to join  A VERY BRITISH BLOG TOUR 2013.

( http://www.cliveeaton.com/averybritishblogtour2013.html )wp75ecd24a_06

This is  a collection of Blogs, Books and Authors with a particularly British bent. No doubt because they’re British. Each author in the list has been asked the same questions though no doubt all the answers will be different because theirs are  diverse group of genres.

Click on the authors name to see how they answered the questions. And make allowances please for the fact I have never taken part in a blog tour before.

So, shall we start with the questions…..

Q. Where were you born and where do you live at the moment?

I was born on an RAF camp in Germany way back in the distant past when aeroplanes still worked by elastic band.

Q. Have you always lived and worked in Britain or are you based elsewhere at the moment?

Yes, I’ve always lived and worked here. I was afraid if I left they wouldn’t let me in again.

Q. Which is your favourite part of Britain?

Where else but the hills of home of course. Wales is full of ancient Magic  and I’m hoping it will work on this ancient soon. To be honest, I have an affinity with a few different parts of Britain where the people are friendly and a particular link to Stockport and one Butcher’s wonderful ( diabetic suitable) pork pies.

Q. Have you ‘highlighted’ or ‘showcased’ any particular part of Britain in your books? For example, a town or city; a county, a monument or some well-known place or event?

The main part of my books is based in the fictitious County of Barsetshire but if the fourth book comes to fruition there will be a reference to a particular part of Wales and it’s town and lake. There are local elements of this area in all three books out at the moment and shops/cafes we frequent are mentioned in code.

Q. There is an illusion – or myth if you wish – about British people that I would like you to discuss. Many see the ‘Brits’ as ‘stiff upper lip’. Is that correct?

The stiff upper lip contingent is almost gone. You can still see remnants of it in some great grandparents and some grandparents and of course in my writings. These days people are more likely to expect it of the upper class and the gentry of BBC period dramas. People aren’t so ready to give themselves over to fate these days.

Q. Do any of the characters in your books carry the ‘stiff upper lip’? Or are they all ‘British Bulldog’ and unique in their own way?

The hero is very much stiff upper lip when faced with his nemesis- women, a species he doesn’t know how to cope with. The rest of the time he seems to muddle along OK.

Q. Tell us about one of your recent books?

The most recent, More Barsetshire Diary, continues where the first book stopped. Lord David is still trying to complete the promise Lady J dropped him in  made on his behalf as well as a new one she made in his name. And of course the village carries on in it’s own sweet way even allowing for the visit from a mysterious Sheikh. Mellors the gardener meets Lady C and Grizelda still manages the house. Oscar of course still rules the roost as cats do. This book has illustrations done by a great young artist called Sara Japanwalla.

Q. What are you currently working on?

Damn, you leave no stone unturned do you. I have started a fourth book but it’s further episodes of Lord David’s life as The Queen’s Envoy which conveniently was the title of the second book and the prequel to the first. This one is coming in fits and starts though because I’m otherwise preoccupied at the moment.

Q. How do you spend your leisure time?

Easy-peasy. I like to spend time with my family. I’m also known as something of a shopaholic so I’m always looking for an excuse to ‘Go for Coffee’ to different places. I love reading so as long as Big Bang Theory isn’t on the TV you’ll often find me with a book in my hands.

Q. Do you write for a local audience or a global audience?

Always a global audience. Although I find that humour does differ from place to place,  the prat- falls of life resonate everywhere.

Q. Can you provide links to your work?

I think I can manage that.

My Barsetshire Diary. http://www.amazon.com/My-Barsetshire-Diary-Recorded-Posterity/dp/1456479776/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360763310&sr=1-5&keywords=lord+david+prosser

The Queen’s Envoy. http://www.amazon.com/Queens-Envoy-Lord-David-Prosser/dp/1447511816/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360763310&sr=1-3&keywords=lord+david+prosser

More Barsetshire Diary.  http://www.amazon.com/More-Barsetshire-Diary-David-Prosser/dp/1447734424/ref=sr_1_4_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360763310&sr=1-4&keywords=lord+david+prosser

There are of course ebooks for each of these paperbacks.

I’ve invited the following British, though not necessarily based in Britain, Authors to take part in the tour. Once they’ve agreed and set up their answers on their own sites then clicking on the name below will take you there.

Owen Jones   http://behind-the-smile.org

John Paul Davis  theunknowntemplar.com

Pete Denton petedenton.wordpress.com

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Officially Low.

My view was shades of grey with occasional sunlight
but now the clouds close in.
How many more blows can the world land
before it’s time to give in.

6 months have passed since the last loss
a sweet girl whose children mourn,
whose husband still suffers and yearns,
from whose arms she was torn.

My life, my love has pain and feels the weight
of this thing inside that preys.
that causes problems, and hurts all kin
who fear the shortening of days.

And now I hear of sweet child, dear friend
who must undergo a scan,
now I see the sunlight fading,
and I am revealed The Grey Man.

Bereft of hope I’m smiling my rictus smile
for the sake of others fears,
yet day by day I’m losing,
friends I’ve known for years.

Oh trickster world you promise much.
yet love to cheat , and so you lack
the honesty to warn me
you’re painting my world black.

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The Zombie State

No, this is not a State that’s crept into the Union unobserved in America. I refer to a state of mind and body.

Last night was a bad night with Ju going to bed early because of pain. Actually if she goes to bed much earlier it will be straight after breakfast. She took her normal  morphine dose and lay watching TV which these days give you another kind of pain. At 8 o’clock the pain was worse so I suggested she take a dose of the emergency dose we’d agreed with the MacMillan Nurse. By midnight she was writhing in pain and even the extra dose had done nothing, but since it had been four hours since the other a again suggested another dose. Ju was wary but did so. By one o’clock things hadn’t improved, and though she didn’t want to call a doctor I impressed upon her that it wouldn’t hurt to just talk to one and explain the problem.

She agreed. ( I always said miracles happen) so we phoned NHS Direct where Ju spoke first to the lady who assesses the problem ? after which she promised to get a nurse to call back. One did, and a nice young man he was, very helpful. Before agreeing Ju should take another dose of morphine he promised to speak to a doctor and comeback to us.

At two o’clock the phone rang and it was a doctor. Ju went over the problem again- pancreatic cancer, inoperable, distended stomach, awaiting scan, please help. By now both she and I were getting very tired. The doctor was a wonder. He’s come out and give an injection, but as he was coming from Wrexham it would take a while. Wonderful. At 3 o’clock he arrived was very kind to Ju, gave the injection and at 3.30 he left. Just before he went he gave me an ampoule of morphine and some paperwork to show that if we needed this again we could call the Marie Curie nurses ( who are closer) and he gave instructions to them to inject this ampoule .

Being sure now that Ju would settle and that she needed nothing I went to sleep and though I woke at five I decided to sleep again until I woke at seven.Guessing Ju would not be up to shopping I  left her where she was and concentrated on giving the girls a treat and turning on the lights of the fish tank and feeding them. I had texted Yvonne last night to say we wouldn’t be shopping so she needn’t rush to meet us. Cruel as I am I woke Ju gently at 8.30 to see how she was and whether she was up to playtime with the girls or not. They generally miss out on a Friday morning as we leave the house early. She decided she was tired but OK and would get the girls out for a while. The phone rang and I picked up the receiver in the lounge meaning to pas it to Ju but it was dead. I passed the one from the hall to her quickly and while she answered it, I went to see why the other one was dead. My suspicions were correct. SOMETHING had bitten through the cable to the plug. I wasn’t sure who’d been the last escapee from the degu cage and out of kindness I was ruling out Saffy, but one of her daughters has really pi**ed me off. This is the second set of phones I’ve had to buy. Anyway, the phone call was from Ju’s sister Mu who said she’d had nightmares about Ju last night and she and John would visit today.

I couldn’t face breakfast but gave Ju a small bowl of Rice Krispies for the rats. I was too mean for Shreddies today and off I went with a coffee to start my mail. 99 messages were waiting and I groaned. Hadn’t I suffered enough? Obviously not. Yvonne sent a message to say she was on her way but the bus was stuck in traffic and could I tell her how her Ma was. I could, I did. By 9.45 I was coming to an end because luckily few had meant a long reply and those people who just needed blog comments were to be disappointed today. Time to get dressed. A few minutes past ten Yvonne arrived and you could see she was worried and upset. Her talk of not applying make-up didn’t ring true. It must be terrible to be far away when something happens and you can’t see how the land lies. I feel bad that I obviously didn’t do enough to dispel her fears but to be honest I was feeling quite zombie like about then.

10.30 and MuJo arrived. I dashed to the kitchen to put the kettle on while they hugged Ju and said their hellos’s. Drinks taken care of I slid out of the room and went back to my computer. John joined me to get away from chatter. I was able to pass him a ruby pendant he’d asked me to get for Mu as the firm I deal with are unbeatable. (For all you Ebay afficionado’s it’s 925-silver-link ). Then, with lunch time fast approaching Mu offered to take me shopping and she could pick up something for lunch at the same time. I love my S/I/L but she drives ahem sedately around 20 mph with traffic backing up behind her. 21 mph and John is shouting “Slow down woman, it’s not Brands Hatch”.  I’m glad the store isn’t far away. We made it safely and I started round. Mu told me to take my time yet started putting things like  a hot chicken and hot sausage rolls in my trolley. I moved faster. As I did, she was catching me up and putting items of her own shopping in the trolley and my space was getting less and less. I called it quits and suggested we left while the food was still hot. Mu dealt with speaking at the counter for me and I just smiled and paid up so I was OK.

After lunch Yvonne had to leave. Mu walked with her to the bus stop while John and I sat with Ju. That lasted 5 minutes till Ju announced she needed to lie down.( I must change my deodorant).Our Doctor rang to say he was upping the dosage of morphine and would write a prescription out for her. Within a few minutes she was snoring away for Britain. Mu returned and said she’s run me to the doctors to collect the prescription. I swear I didn’t say I could run quicker than she could run me but the temptation was there. John said he’d stay with Ju. Off we went ever so sedately again though I’m sure at one point we reached 25mph because John wasn’t with us. What a rebel. She got the right road and turned in and I pointed out the doctor’s car park. I was still pointing at it as we sailed past it and Mu entered the hospital overflow car park. “Where’s the surgery” she asked. I was still pointing though now my arm was wrapped round my neck. I got out, walked across the grass verges, through the doctor car park and down the hill to the entrance. The staff know me by sight if not by voice and I soon had the prescriptions in my hand. Back up the hill, across the car park and over the verge, gasping for breath I reached the car. “I should have parked in that car park shouldn’t I ” asked Mu.

We stopped at the chemist near home where they also know me well and within a few minutes my order was filled. Mu had gone ahead so I walked home clutching my hope for tonight.I gently woke Ju and asked if  she was well enough to come through as her sister was about to go.  MuJo wished us goodbye and promised to see us next week. That left just Ju and I. We sat companionably for a while then about 4,00 pm she had to go back to bed. I understood as I knew how tired she must be feeling. I started to watch a Move to the Country programme on the TV knowing my favourite antiques programme was on at half past. That was it. I woke at 5.15 just after it had finished. I went to see that Ju was OK and confessed I’d nodded off. “I know ” she said, “Mike told me.He even kissed you on the forehead and you didn’t move.” My brother had called to borrow a bucket as he’s cleaning the house he’s moving out of soon and he’s off to a new flat in the Midlands. No more Bro at the weekends to banter with. How I hadn’t woken with him here I’ll never know. So, I watched a quiz till six and then came back to my mail for the day.I feel like a zombie now but know if I go to bed too early I’ll be up and working at 4 am tomorrow. Still. I usually am no matter what time I go to sleep. A built in alarm clock.

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Error Report.

We started today by taking a prescription request to the doctors and collecting the prescription I’d requested Monday. My drug tray is updated every Thursday so the stocks must be maintained. After leaving the doctors I knew we needed bread and OK i needed cigarettes. Before you ask, I haven’t given them up because I haven’t really wanted too and yes, I realise my illness is exacerbated by smoking but I’ve been at it a long time now. I’ve tried hypnosis and all that got me was a reasonable sleep for half an hour. Anyway back to the plot. The brand I smoke isn’t sold where we live so we decided to pick them up with fresh bread from Flint and perhaps go for a coffee.

Walking round the supermarket someone threw herself at us and we were delighted to see a young lady we first met some years ago who we haven’t seen for a long time. It appears she’d been to the cafe and actually left her phone number there for us as she wanted to bring her daughter round to see us. This young lady was fresh out of the army when we met her and she’d just had her baby. She had just moved to the area and knew no-one, it showed. She looked quite lost that first day and you could see what a wonderful mother she was from the way she interacted with the baby. Julia took quite an interest in the baby while I smiled from a distance having not got used to being near strangers . As we were leaving I passed Ju some money to pass on for Mum to buy the little girl a gift from  us. She was so taken aback and it proved to be the start of a warm friendship whenever we met. It hasn’t happened often but each time we’ve noticed huge changes in the little girl who now attends school.

We paid for the shopping and went for coffee remembering to take a box of sweets for the cafe staff who are great with us. There really are some wonderful people around and it’s nice to acknowledge them. After coffee it was a dash home to have lunch and prepare for going out for Ju’s scan. I hadn’t seen the appointment card for this but knowing we’d seen Dr. Dreamboat last week and he’d hoped to get an appointment this week I was happy. We lunched and I watched an antique programme got my coat and prepared to leave. I’d suggested going early so that if there were no delays we’d have time to sit with a cuppa before going in. Coats on we headed to the car.

“Ju, it’s definitely two o’clock for the scan” I asked as we got in the car. With a sigh of exasperation she opened her bag and pulled out the letter. “There see, doubting Thomas” she said ” two o’clock Wednesday 20th Feb.”  I must have looked stunned for a moment as she asked what was wrong. “It is Wednesday isn’t it?” she asked. It didn’t take me long to point out she’d got that much right at least but that I didn’t fancy sitting in the waiting room for two weeks. On a more serious note neither of us wanted her to wait another two weeks in the pain she’s currently feeling. So, as we headed back out of the car and I thanked her for the outing, I suggested I go to the chemist to fill my prescription and she phone the oncologist and see if he could get the appointment moved up. It turned out that was up to us so when I came home from the chemist we phoned the scan department and explained the problem, emphasising that Ju has cancer and a prolonged wait would mean very much increased pain. They promised to ring us back if they could find a cancellation. Sure enough ten minutes later they were on asking if we could go next Tuesday evening. We grabbed it.

The Macmillan nurse called this evening and I disappeared after quickly making sure Ju would ask about the treatment after the scan. She assured us Doc. Hotlips would act very quickly after the result and if it turned out to be fluid causing the distended stomach he would probably drain it in a matter of days.( I’m reliably informed they can’t drain it by giving the patient a tap on the head). She said if he wasn’t quick enough she’d see if it could be done in  a hospice by another doctor. That’s a real comfort knowing there may be another option. It may be done in the day or it may mean an overnight stay as a lot of the body’s salt and other minerals could be lost and Ju could be very tired. The bad news is this may be a recurring theme. The good news was Ju managed to stay up until 6.30pm because she hasn’t eaten today and that meant I saw an episode of the Big Bang Theory. Cup half full !!

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