Tag Archives: hospice

Rhyme and Reason?

In my post on April  11th I mentioned how difficult I’ve been finding it to locate certain things.  I was starting to wonder if Ju was sending me a message. For instance, when we cleared the garage , Yvonne, Ugo and I created piles for me, the Hospice Charity shops and for Muriel/John ( hereinafter called MuJo). When MuJo came I took them round to the garage, we’d found literally boxes of Ju’s horse figurines and I wanted her to have her choice. I’d put some watercolour paintings to one side for John as I know he likes them, but could they be found? Not a cat in hell’s chance. Either they’d evaporated or some wild rats have discerning taste in nest decor.

Whenever Christmas rolled around Ju would clear the decks to make way for the decorations. My collections on display would disappear and I’d be told they’d be back when the decorations were packed away. That never seemed to happen just as last years tree never seemed to re-appear. The loft ( please God I don’t have to clear that out ) must be full of Christmas trees and collections of old inkwells etc. But, the thing that had most puzzled me was Julia’s laptop bag. It and it’s contents had faded into thin air. I’d torn clumps of hair from my rapidly receding widow’s peak trying to find them. I tried to follow Ju’s logic as to where it would be since it wasn’t actually with the laptop which naturally enough was tucked down beside the settee. OK, I had to admit defeat as women’s logic was always beyond me.  But in wanting to give things to the family to remember Ju I have a niece who crafts and that bag contained lots of crafting DVD’s.

On Thursday when Yvonne was with me I’d gone to the pantry and a flash of yellow had caught my eye. I visit the pantry multiple times daily for the accoutrements to cooking or to deposit rubbish in the bin and before Thursday- Nada, but there it was, the flash of yellow. Reaching through the accumulated brushes, ancient hoovers, pan stands and a lightbulb collection that would do a lighthouse justice, I grasped the object in question and out came the upside down laptop bag complete with the DVD’s I wanted. Checking through there was no sign of the also missing tablet bought some months ago. Back to the pantry I went and soon had it in hand. I’m not sure if it still works, or how it works and will have to rely on my nephew’s expertise. He’ll tell me if it’s a toy I need or whether someone else can use it better. The DVD’s will now be able to go to a good home too. But PLEASE someone, explain to me the logic behind having a laptop bag, upside down in a pantry of all places and why it chose to reveal itself at that moment. At some stage I may have to explain to someone why I didn’t decide to look in there purposely as they wearily tap their feet and say, “Huh, s’obvious innit?”.


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The Last Journey.

Today we went to register the death of my beloved wife. How things have changed. As well as issuing permission for the funeral directors to go ahead they also deal with cancelling passports driving licences, blue badges ( parking for disabled drivers) and with notifying local councils and benefit agencies of the death so monies can be stopped. It seems they’re a One-Stop-Shop nowadays. It seemed to take an interminable length of time and I was truly glad to get out of there.

The funeral can go ahead. It will be at 11.45 on Friday April 12th at Mochdre Crematorium. Some people will want to bring flowers and I have no objection to that if i’s their way of showing love and respect. Others may prefer to donate and we’re happy with that too.

What we suggest are donations either to Cancer Research or to the Hospice Ju was looked after so well in.

http://www.stkentigernhospice.org.uk/fundraising       St. Kentigern’s Hospice.

http://www.pcrf.org.uk/                                    Pancreatic cancer research fund.

If anyone feels able or willing to donate then please do and you have my thanks.

Something else that happened this week has been a piece published about Julia’s courage. Here is he link. It would be nice if you felt able to comment as her friends even if you didn’t know her well.



Thank you to all my friends who’ve offered great support. I will let everyone know how the funeral goes.

Regards and Hugs



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The End of Days

Today saw the end of the war. Julia fought many battles and has won many of them. In the end, superior forces sneaked in and defeated her. She left our presence but never our hearts at 4.10 am today, Saturday 30th March 2013.

Like me and our daughter, Julia was often overwhelmed by the support of so many people she didn’t know but often wanted to. She had great faith in people and declared herself a humanist whenever anyone asked. I always shared the best wishes of everyone who responded to a blog and sometimes we were able to share a laugh and a joke over them. One thing is sure and it’s that Julia was always grateful for the time people took to respond to something  written about her, even if I’d managed to be rude. She never considered herself important enough to be the subject of a blog, but I guess I owed her that much after the portrayal of her in my  books. I did wear the trousers in the house and had her permission to say so. In fact she certainly was important, not just to family and friends but to all those whose causes she undertook and by all those she raised money for, though I  never got as much as I deserved I thought.

When Julia passed away , the hospice ( the FANTASTIC St.Kentigern’s) had allowed Yvonne, Ugo and my nieces Karen and Joanne as well as myself,to remain by her side, sleeping in the lounge for hours at a time and supplying us with drinks. I want to thank the family for their strength and support and love as well as thanks to the staff from all of us for their patience and kindness. Their care of Julia was unbeatable. When we are able to hold a funeral In would ask for donations either to Cancer Research or to St. Kentigern’s to allow them to carry on doing such a brilliant job.

Tango and Ju














R.I.P Julia Prosser 15.07.1956 – 30.03.2013


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This Is The Week That Is

I suppose the title is not stricly true if you happen to be a pedant since given that Sunday is /monday is the start of a new week I’m actually covering parts of two weeks. I wasn’t sure that ‘TWTWTW with TITWTI’ wouldn’t sound like some demented owl calling instead of a title.

I left the story on Friday of last week with the hope that Julia would regain the will to go out or at least to give the ‘girls’ an outing from their cage. ( For new readers, I make the mistake of referring to my daughter and two nieces as the girls as well as our selection of pet rats. I leave it to you to decide who’s been caged).

The driver in place the pain must have been reduced but overall was still evident. So, on Saturday the dosage in the driver was increased, which required a doctor’s authorisation via the nurses. When  it had to be increased again, and because of the snow passage to our home was even more difficult, the MacMillan nurse decided to try for a place at the hospice immediately. That wasn’t possible so a bed at the hospital where Ju”s treatment started was found. Neither my daughter nor I was keen on the idea because they’re large wards, patients have to go through the outpatients dept. before being sent to a ward and there’s no guarantee of visiting outside the stated times. But, any port in a storm as the saying goes. It was thus arranged by having an on call doctor come and assess Julia and sign an authorisation for hospitalisation. It was actually strange to see the doctor since both Julia and I had met him before. He has a surgery in a local town, obviously covers as an on call doctor and also has a job with ATOS, the firm employed by the government to assess people for Disability Living Allowance claims- and refuse them . We remembered him well from his assessment of my claim a couple of years back. He had me walk four feet from chair to door before deciding I could walk OK. He saved himself the bother of asking me a few questions by just supplying his own answers for them and talking to Julia said ” Please My Lady, let him answer the quession I ask” despite being told I wasn’t able to. But this was all done in the most charming manner. On arrival this time to assess Julia he acted as though we’d not met each other before and referred to me as ‘Young Man’ (eyesight not bad then) and said to Julia ” Oh my Lady, you’re far too young for this, far too young” ( and who could disagree with that).

A couple of hours later the ambulance battled it’s way through to collect Ju. An ecstatic Macmillan Nurse rang to say we could have a place in the hospice on Monday but they don’t do weekend admissions. The alternatives were a different hospice much further away or a bed at the local cottage hospital until a transfer could be arranged on Monday.  Yvonne and I gave the problem our undivided attention for all of two seconds and decided on the local hospital. We told the ambulance men who were a little bemused as that wasn’t on their  destination sheet, but it meant an earlier finish so they could cope.

Julia was transported by wheelchair to the ambulance which was a very painful journey but inescapable because of the state of the ground cover of snow and ice. I travelled with her while Yvonne followed in the car with Ugo. It was a very short journey and soon we were on the ward. Though this a main ward it consisted of only four beds. And though privacy was somewhat impacted everyone had automatically started speaking in whispers the minute we entered. Amazingly though, the staff placed no restriction on visiting times and even showed us to a family room where there was a bed enabling some to stay over. It was also a place where we could bring food to so that there was no need to leave the hospital to eat. Ju’s morphine doses were increased again so we expeccted all to be well.

There was no doctor at the hospital so when Julia felt pain the nursing staff had to phone one to get permission to increase the morphine 20mg at a time. This wasn’t achieving much. So, after a Sunday where we brought and ate enough food to feed the four thousand and left the family room smelling like we’d had a Turkish sauna in there instead of Just Yvonne and Ugo sleeping it was great when Monday and the time fo transfer came. I travelled in the ambulance with Julia again while Yvonne and Ugo went by car and Karen did the same.

The hospice (St. Kentigern’s) is fantastic. Though Ju is in a much smaller room than last time which doesn’t have it’s own bathroom, the kindness here is amazing. No restriction on visitors ( I mean number of rather than they can form their own Sumo wrestling team to perform there) and they’ve allowed Yvonne and I to stay over so Ju has our attention 24/7 ( who shouted ‘Poor Soul’ then?) as well as constant care from the staff here which includes a fantastic Doctor who is the most empathetic I’ve ever met and brilliant staff for whom nothing is too much trouble. There’s also the possibilty to order meals so you don’t have to leave if you’d prefer . All that being said, the dosage of morphine is now strong enough to kill the pain and discomfort but Ju is hardly lucid at all now. It’s Thursday at 7.15 am here and Yvonne or I have spent the night sitting with Ju  and giving her occasional drinks to keep her hydrated. The tumour has now caused a blockage so she’s unable to eat at all. Any attempt leads to sickness so the liquid is important.

We spend time playing Ju’s favourite music, holding hands (hers) and stuffing biscuits and cakes down our gullets while Ju sleeps. We know this is the end, just not when it will arrive. Each of us hopes to be here when it does so we can say goodbye properly and not allow her to pass feeling alone. There have been important visitors here that have made Ju’s life better by their presence. Lis, one of those people who enrich the lives of all about them came as soon as the snow conditions allowed. Despite her lack of awareness Ju smiled from ear to ear. Little Mike came yesterday when he had a chance and I’m sure his cheeky banter lit sparks of recognition for her. Both Karen and Joanne (The Nieces) we here last night though Karen has been here all day every day suffering my jokes. Our nephew Lee and his partner Jen visited on Tuesday evening and Ju recognised them I’m sure. Today we know Karen will arrive early and be carrying bacon sandwiches for Yvonne and I and the three of us will sit and reminisce throughout the day trying to include Ju in the conversation where possible. We have no idea how long we’ll be sitting here for.


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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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