Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasons greetings

Just a quick blog to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Marie

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why, why, why Delilah

Last night Gillian my hairdresser came.

She hadn’t been since August so as you can imagine my hair was a bit on the long side.

I decided to get it cut really short. I would have liked it longer but at the moment it’s too much for me to manage.

All last night I was freezing. I had two blankets wrapped round me, two pairs of long socks on, a hot water bottle to cuddle in to and the large collar of my dressing gown pulled over my head, all to keep me warm.

I think it must have been my Samson moment…

Marie

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wot no blogs

Sorry folks for the lack of blogs but there hasn’t been anything to report.

Hopefully we’ll have something to blog about in the next couple of days.

Gosh we really do lead such exciting lives…

Marie

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things you notice

Yesterday morning we placed our Christmas turkey order with one of the local butcher on Sea Road.

Ever since we’ve had Christmas lunch at home we’ve just bought a frozen turkey from Morrisons.

However this year we’ve decided to go for a fresh one. There’s a wonderful old fashioned butchers on Sea Road which we often call in for his fabulous ‘old English’ sausages and peas pudding. So we thought he was the best place to go for our turkey.

There was only one problem with his shop and that it’s not very wheelchair friendly so sadly I had to wait outside while John placed the order. I did though get a wave from the window from Billy the butcher and he sent his regards.

There are several things you notice whilst being in a wheelchair:

Pedestrians/shoppers don’t see you so they walk into the wheelchair.

Because of cars who have parked part on the road and part on the pavement, it’s either extremely tight manoeuvring past or you have to take to the road because you can’t fit through the small gap. I’m thinking of getting a device fitted to the wheels, which when I press a button, metal spikes come out and scratch the side of the cars as I go past them…

Paths are in a terrible condition. The flagstone are so uneven so the ride is extremely bumpy.

Not all shops are accessible. There was one shop (it’s closed now – it was a chained local convenience store which went into administration recently) which had a huge step to get inside. Even I had a struggle to get up it when I was on two legs… However they did come up with a solution to this. Wheelchair uses simply had to press a bell – which was over six feet off the ground !!!!

Marie

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nothing really exciting to report

Sadly there hasn’t been much happening in the BOGOF household these past few days.

Monday I had an appointment at the hospital to see my consultant and he’s given me two options to consider regarding the future.

Thankfully he doesn’t want an answer soon. Both options are major, with one of them being life changing, so I need time to think about.

The rest of the week passed without any great excitement.

Marie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another small step for Marie

When I was in hospital the physios decided just to let me start walking at my own pace. Normally you have to complete various stages before they let you home – walking with crutches, walking upstairs etc. However as I wasn’t your normal ‘joint’ patient, anything I did was a bonus.

I managed to walk unaided using a Zimmer frame and at various times walking supervised on crutches. However whenever I started to make good progress on the crutches, I’d be back at the ‘woodshed’* and end up back on the Zimmer.

When I left hospital I was allowed to take with me two Zimmers (one for downstairs, the other upstairs) but not the crutches. A referral would be made for me to be assessed to start using them again and I would be notified of this by post.

Last week I received the referral. Someone would be coming out to see me in six months time….

I decided to take matters into my own hands so bought a pair of brand new crutches (even better ones than they had in hospital) on Ebay for £15.

They came on Wednesday and I’m making steady progress with them, though I haven’t gone walking solo with them.

When I was in hospital, due to lack of strength in my non-hip leg and my other being extremely swollen, I wasn’t able to climb stairs.

Now that I’ve got a lot more strength in my left leg and the swelling has gone down in my other leg, I thought it was time to try the stairs again. So yesterday using my new crutches I managed, extremely slowly though, to walk up and down them.

The stair lift won’t become redundant but it’s nice to know that I’m slowly making progress. Who knows that I’ll be doing this time next month….

Marie

* the name I gave for the operating theatre

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Why we need to remember



Twixt Nieuport sands and the eastward lands where the Four Red Rivers spring,
Five hundred thousand gentlemen of those that served their King.

All that they had they gave - they gave -
In sure and single faith.
There can no knowledge reach the grave
To make them grudge their death
Save only if they understood
That, after all was done,
We they redeemed denied their blood
And mocked the gains it won.


From "The Kings pilgrimage" by Rudyard Kipling



There is a lot being said at the moment about wounded soldiers, and I think it's important to remember that once our Government sees sense and gets out people home, those in need won't just go away. I found some facts about First World War veterans, twenty years after the end of the war, and they make sobering reading.

In 1938 which was twenty years after the cessation of hostilities, there were still 442,000 men still alive who were so maimed, gassed, nerve-racked, or otherwise ruined in health, that they could not work at all, or only with diminished efficiency, and were wholly or partly dependent on the State for money to live.

Over one hundred and twenty seven thousand widows still mourned their men that they had last seen in uniform, and two hundred and twenty four thousand parents and other dependants were still suffering through the loss of sons and relatives who were their breadwinners. There were 8,000 with one or both legs missing, 3,600 with one or both arms missing, together with 90,000 with limbs damaged to a marked degree.

Ten thousand men had eyesight injured by poison gas, and explosions, with 2,000 of these being completely blind.

Head injuries accounted for 15,000 with many wearing metal plates to protect them, and 15,000 had been deafened by explosions of various kinds. Most soldiers who had served near the front line, or in the artillery suffered from some impairment of their hearing.

There was no such thing as industrial deafness, being recognised as a pensionable disease in those days.

Severe exertion due to heavy labour in the trenches produced Hernias in 7,000 men making them unfit for manual work, whilst some 2,000 still suffered the effects of Frostbite with in some cases loss of toes and fingers.

Thirty two thousand more suffered from various unclassified wounds causing disability of various kinds. Many of these men (14,000) still had wounds unhealed that required treatment including amputation even at this late stage. Much of this was due to a condition called Latent Sepsis which was very common in the wounded of the Great War especially in France and Flanders. Almost without exception soldiers wounded on the Western Front had wounds which were grossly infected, due to the manured soil in which they occurred. Even after these wounds had healed, many still contained organisms deep within the tissues which were liable to flare up, many years after, to cause amputation and even death.

These are the figures for the wounded, but the legacy of diseases contracted during their service, such as Malaria, Dysentery, and other tropical diseases, still persisted in 1938, the year before the next great conflict began.

One hundred thousand men were afflicted with diseases too numerous to classify, with 41,000 suffering from bronchitis and tuberculosis often as a result of gassing.

Consumption, or pulmonary tuberculosis of the lungs to give it its medical term, was rife in the Royal Navy especially in the submariners. This filled many sanatoriums after the War, with something similar occurring after the Second World War but not on the same scale.

Heart disease in addition to hernia affected 38,000 due to excessive labour at the front, with the terrible conditions of the front line convincing the not too easily convinced Ministry of Pensions doctors that the 28,000 cases of severe Rheumatism deserved a disability pension. Many more who suffered got no pension at all, there being many cases of grave injustice done at this time. These included many of the 25,000 still suffering from shell shock and other neurasthenias, with 3,200 of these still in asylums, their minds broken beyond repair.

The cost to the country was enormous with one shilling in every pound (i.e. 5%) of the national budget still going to keep these war victims.



John

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I've missed you



I’M FREE ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Words can’t describe how good it feels to be back home.

At 8am yesterday morning my consultant popped in to see me and asked how I was. Before I had a chance to say anything, Tracey, the nurse who was accompanying him on his rounds, said that I really would like to go home as I was getting a little fed up as I had been in hospital for nearly eight weeks.

He looked at my wound and the redness from my dressing allergy, then asked if I could cope with everything at home.
“Yes”, I practically yelled at him.
“Ok, you can go home”.
“What! Today”, I asked.
“Yes”, he smiled.

I rang John to tell him the good news then my mam who burst into tears…

I wouldn’t say that they wanted my side room but I was told I had 10 minutes to pack (I was still in my nightclothes at that time…), and if I wasn’t ready then the discharge nurse who was taking me to the discharge lounge would go without me.

While I’ve been in hospital I’ve kept a diary so you can read all about my exploits.

Finally I want to thank everyone for all their cards and good wishes. It really did mean a lot.

Marie

Monday, November 02, 2009

Plastic Man UPDATED

The plastic man hasn't been, but he sent one of his minions today. He wasn't able to say a lot as he's only the monkey and it's the organ grinder who makes the decisions.

He did however say that what Marie needs is to go home and give everything time to heal. We're not complaining about that.

And finally, after 28 hours, the cortisone cream still hasn't arrived.

John

The Plastic Man

The muscle graft man (actually he’s a plastic surgeon or “plastic man” as the nurses call him) was supposed to call on Friday. He didn’t turn up. It seems someone at the hospital in Durham failed to process the referral. Now we know from experience that not processing a referral from a GP in good time is commonplace in the NHS, but to fail to process a referral from one consultant to another could have far reaching consequences of the career-limiting kind for someone.

However, there have been other developments. The hospital put a drain dressing on to measure how much her wound was leaking. Very little came out, but Marie’s leg turned bright red. Some sort of reaction to the adhesive we think. It can’t be serious because the consultant simply asked for some cortisone cream to be applied. Of course when that will appear is another matter. On past form it will take at least 24 hours.

John

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not MORE surgery

Once again we would both like to say a big “Thank You” for all your good wishes over the last seven weeks – yes, it’s seven weeks to the day since Marie was admitted.

Marie’s wound is showing no sign of sealing up. It’s only a trickle plus the occasional rush, but even a trickle means no going home. So they’re trying a different approach.

It would seem that you need muscle to mop up the fluids, and to replace muscle damaged by the infection, the next step is a muscle graft. There is an expert in that field available, but he works in Durham, so there is a possibility of a transfer to another hospital on the horizon.

John

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stairway to ...

... nowhere at the present.

We've got a stairlift. Well, actually we've got two. If you know our house you will understand that we have two staircases, one long and one short, with the bathroom between them. Since climbing stairs is the one thing Marie won;t be able to do for the foreseeable future we looked around and I found someone who would rent stairlifts for a very reasonable price. So on Friday, Gordon The Tattooed Engineer came and installed them. This is the bottom one, modeled here by Thomas.



On the medical front it's a waiting game. Once Marie's wound stops leaking she can come home. Trouble is, you get one very good day with very little coming out, the the next morning it's Niagara Falls down the leg. Actually it is slowly getting a better, but the Consultant has given the wound a deadline. He said that if it wasn't healed in the next two weeks, then he will do something about it. You can imagine Marie's response when he said two weeks ...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back from theatre

Just a quick note to say that Marie had her surgery yesterday, and they gave her wound a “good wash-out”. Everything seems to have gone well, and Marie was in good spirits last night. She was tired, but there was none of the sickness that she often gets with anaesthetics.

Of course we’ll have to wait and see if it has been successful. If it has then we’re looking at getting her home round about Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Maybe ...

John

Sunday, October 18, 2009

D-Day Monday

On Monday the Consultant will decide whether to leave Marie's wound to fix itself, or whether to go in and give it what he calls a "proper wash-out". Ant it's looking like the latter is the more likely course. The wound is still bleeding, but just a little. This is fine except that by yesterday the original site had healed, but it was bleeding from a slightly different place.

On the positive side, Marie has a new little friend. Thanks to Jenny and Chris, a package arrived the other day, with this little fellow.



Marie reckons his name is Frank, because he has blue eyes. He's cheered Marie up no end, so many many thanks.



John

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Setback

Marie saw the Consultant yesterday. It looks as though the infection has not gone away so it’s on to some new antibiotics and another week of wait-and-see. Of course, being the NHS, the antibiotics took eight hours to arrive.

And if that doesn’t fix the problem it may be a trip back to theatre for another, more thorough wash-out of the wound, which could add another week.

Needless to say we’re not at all happy, considering how close Marie was to getting home. It will be five weeks on Thursday since Marie was admitted.

John

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Almost, but not quite

On Friday the doctor told Marie that if her wound stayed dry for 48 hours, then she could go home on Monday.

So what happened. It stayed dry all day Friday, then started weeping on Saturday morning. Actually it started with quite a gush. It's clean blood coming out, no pus or other unpleasantness, but still enough to delay things.

Today things were a little better with very little coming out, but still enough to keep her in. The Consultant will be round in the morning so we'll see what he says then.

John

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Post Op

Marie has had her surgery today and all seems well. When I arrived at just after 6 this evening she was sitting up in bed eating her dinner.



Latest news is that - all being well - she hopes to be home sometime next.

And finally, Marie sends a huge "Thank You" to everyone for their good wishes.

As expected

The surgeon decided to go in and have a look at why Marie's wound has not sealed up.

The operation is scheduled for Wednesday. As there is a risk Marie may still have an infection she is on last so they can give the theatre a good scrub down afterwards. So lots of waiting around for Marie. Thankfully it's only expected to take 30 minutes so hopefully she will be back by visiting time.

John

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One step forward – Two steps back

First the good news.

Marie has been passed as safe to go home by the physiotherapists. In the time available they can’t really do much more. It’s going to be a case of exercise and practice at home. She did however manage to walk a few steps with elbow crutches instead of a Zimmer frame yesterday.

Also, the visit to the Occupational Therapist went well. They are satisfied Marie is not a danger to herself, and they can assist with some equipment to make life a little easier.

On the down side Marie’s wound is still leaking. Just a little, and from one place only. No doubt caused by the anti-clotting drugs.

The consultant is taking a look today and if he’s not convinced it will stop then he’s going to “go in and take a look” which could put homecoming back by a week.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Progress

At last – Marie is rid of the line in her neck (cvc or central venous catheter if you want to be correct). It was very uncomfortable and made resting difficult. It also meant that she was hooked up to antibiotics for several hours, usually late at night or early morning.

After an episode that was worthy of Kafka where one specialist wanted the line out because it was a risk if infection while the other wanted it in because they were still administering anti-clotting drugs which prevented removal, the consultant put his foot down. “It’s coming out today” her thundered. And when a consultant does this, people jump.

So at last it’s out and Marie is on oral antibiotics. Ones that turn your wee red, and if you wear contact lenses it will turn them red too.

Now that the lines are out, there’s more time for physio and Marie can walk with a frame and is allowed out in the ward without the physio provided someone walks with her.

Now it’s just a question of convincing the O.T. that she’s safe to be let out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One small step for Marie ...

... and one giant leap on the journey home.

Marie continues to do well but on Saturday the physiotherapists tried to get her walking but were unsuccessful. As you can imagine this left us a little deflated, but they don't give up so easily so on Sunday they returned with a better walking frame. One with wheels and aero bars. Success !!!

Marie was able to walk from her chair out to the middle of the corridor and back, a distance of about forty feet. She was exhausted by the effort. I was worn out just watching.

To say we were all pleased was an understatement. If there's so much improvement in one day, what might we be seeing by the end of the week. Latest news about coming home is "seven to ten days, assuming blood tests show the infection has gone".

So here's hoping.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Operation

Marie has now had her operation and sends a big "Thank You" to everyone for their good wishes. The operation went well, and Marie is doing fine. She spent a night in the ICCU which was wonderful. One nurse per two patients and no waiting for anything. Then back to the ward the following afternoon.

As you might expect she is tired and in need to sleep. She's also still attached to
a lot of tubes and wires which will hopefully be coming out soon.

Next on the agenda is a visit from the physiotherapist to see how much movement she currently has, and to see the best way to get mobile again. Then a visit from the dietician as the awful hospital food isn't great.

John

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Relief !!

Marie has been given a new bed. One with a firmer mattress so she can finally get some sleep. It's only taken a week for them to realise that the soft mattress had given her a displaced disc.

Now that the bed is sorted, and the cold sore is under control Marie is feeling a lot happier. Operation has been rescheduled for Wednesday.



Finally Marie says a big "thank-you" to everyone for their good wishes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Delayed by Delays

Marie’s operation has been postponed through a mixture of bureaucracy and downright incompetence.

Marie suffers from the occasional cold sore, especially is she is stressed, run down or in pain. As she is currently all three, it’s not surprising that the odd one will appear.

Sometimes she gets them close to her eyes, which is rather serious as untreated they can lead to loss of sight. When this happens Marie goes to the Eye Infirmary A & E dept. and simply gives them her case number. They prescribe Zovirax eye cream and all is well. The whole process takes less than two hours and the end result is just a little darkening round the eyes.

When you are in hospital that’s not the way it works. The cold sore was diagnosed straight away, and the staff even understood the importance of getting it seen to straight away. They accessed the records from the eye infirmary and ordered the correct medication from the pharmacy which was just one floor below.

Nothing happened.

Nothing happened for almost thirty hours, so by the time the medication arrived Marie had an eye the size of a grapefruit with an enormous blister on the top lid. The surgeon can’t operate with it in such a state as there is too much risk of infection.

It’s probably going to take at least a week to clear up. So as you can image we’re not happy bunnies.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Long Term

First of all, many thanks to all of you who sent us your good wishes, by whatever means. It is really appreciated.

It looks like Marie is going to be in hospital for some time. The old hip joint has to come out and of course the area will have to be cleaned thoroughly as there is a lot of mess where it's been breaking up. I always thought titanium was a very inert metal but it appears not to be so. One of the doctors described it as a magnet for bacteria.

To combat the infection Marie is having intravenous antibiotics, plus saline to re-hydrate her because the infection prevented her keeping anything on her stomach.

The hip will come out and all being well, what the hospital call a temporary joint will go in, either on Tuesday or Thursday depending on when the parts arrive. Marie will be in hospital for about three more weeks and then there will be the recovery period at home. You can't bend your hip more then 45 degrees for six weeks. Neither can you drive or walk very far.

By now you're probably wondering what I mean by a temporary joint. This one will be there until all the infection has gone, then in four to six months, it's back in again for the proper one.

Knowing Marie, you can imagine that she isn't too pleased about being stuck in hospital for the next three or four weeks. On the plus side, she has a room to herself, with the luxury of her own bathroom. On the minus side, the food is terrible and the bed is very soft and as well as preventing sleep it's giving her terrible back pain. As well as her normal pain medication they are having to give her morphine for her back.

However, all things considered she's in very goods spirits. All she needs now is a decent nights sleep.

John

Friday, September 11, 2009

Metal Fatigue

Marie is suffering from metal fatigue.

Seriously. Regular readers will know that she has been suffering from a pressure sore for some time now. Everything was going very well until Thursday morning when I got a call at work to say her dressing had turned black and a smelly liquid was oozing out.

Marie was also feeling sick and shivering and sweating. As she had an appointment with the practice nurse that day I left work and took her in.

After a bit of prodding they summoned a doctor who told us to report to A & E at the hospital for blood tests and an x-ray. The doctor told us there was a possibility Marie may have to be admitted.

Eventually, at 5 pm Marie was admitted to a ward and by 7 pm we found out that her artificial hip was suffering from metal fatigue and would need to be replaced.

In the meantime it's antibiotics to control the infection and a good clean out of the wound. It would seem the black liquid was a reaction with the metal in the joint.

So there we are. Poor Marie is laid up in hospital for a while.

More news after visiting tonight.

John

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pure bliss

For the past 46 days I’ve been unable to have a bath or a shower because of my pressure sore.

As you can imagine I’m a little fed up with the water prohibition. Having a rub down with a flannel isn’t the same as soaking in a hot bath.

I mentioned this to my nurse who took pity on me and ordered some waterproof dressings to go on top of my original dressing.

Although I can’t have a bath I am able to have a shower.

Tonight I had my first shower in over seven weeks and it was wonderful.

I now feel clean !!!!

Marie

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Equipment galore



It’s hard to believe that a six inch pressure sore would require so much stuff.

Starting at the back of the picture, going clockwise, there’s cotton wool pads, kitchen roll (extremely useful when my dressing develops a leak and John’s not around to change it. I simply make a pad and attach it to the dressing) and surgical spirit (used with the cotton wool pads to remove any dressings residue that’s stuck to my skin).

In front of the kitchen roll are sterile packs which have to be used every time the dressing is changed. Each pack contains gloves, a laminate sheet, a sterile sheet, a measure guide), gauze, a towel, a disposable bag and an apron.

Next comes the £47 a pack dressings, Intrasite dressings (it liquidises the dead skin) and extra non-sterile gauzes. Behind the Intrasite are disposable sterile scissors (to cut the Intrasite) and some waterproof plasters (again used when John’s not around to stick down the dressing when it starts to come away).

Finally at the front there’s saline water (used to clean in and around the pressure sore), a pack of extra sterile gauze, tape (used to stick the kitchen roll to the dressing when I have a ‘leak’) and sterile hand gel.

I also should have had a large yellow ‘sharp tools’ box to put the scissors in. I declined saying I had enough equipment…

Marie

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Revealed

So what were the mystery objects ?

Well, here's the first clue.



And here's one of the little blighters peeking out from behind the steering wheel.



And here's its partner, sitting behind the steering wheel.



Got it yet. They're paddles used to change gear in a car with sequential transmissionr.

The cost, and remember, I had to buy a matching pair.

£128.14 plus vat EACH. Not far short of £300 the pair. That's the downside of owning an Alfa Romeo.

John

p.s. don't know where the reputation came from, but paddles are not at all "flappy".

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Result

I had a phone call this afternoon from the Customer Service Manager at Social Services regarding my complaint letter.

She was appalled at the way I had been treated and promised that a full investigation would take place to find out the guilty people, and action would be taken against them.

She has arranged for the mattress to be collected on Thursday afternoon instead of a week today which was the earliest date the nasty little woman would give me.

The Customer Service Manager was also concerned about the length of time it took for the collection people to pick up the phone, so will be bringing that up with their manager as well.

She’s also going to investigate why the mattress which was supposed to be new, stunk of tobacco.

She even offered to come and visit me at home, along with the manager of the collection people, to discuss my complaint further and to inform me of the actions they have taken. I thanked her for the offer but said I was satisfied that my complaint was being dealt so a visit wasn’t necessary.

Another result for the Customer from Hell.

Marie

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can you tell what it is yet



I took delivery of some bits today.

Can you guess what they are, or what they’re used for. And can you hazard a guess at how much they cost.

John

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The return of….

…the Customer from Hell.

After a long period away she’s back !!!

Today I was waiting for something to be collected. My nurse at the doctor had arranged for me to try a pressure sore mattress to see if that would help my wound. Unfortunately the mattress was too soft and it also smelt of tobacco.

I tried ringing the collection people all day last Monday but couldn’t get an answer. After several rings last Tuesday I finally got to speak to someone and arranged for the mattress to be collected today.

I was in the kitchen this morning when I heard something being pushed through the letter box. Normally I don’t bother rushing to see what has come as it’s usually a pizza or Indian take-away menu. However for some reason I decided to go and take a look straight away.

It was a note from the little collection people to say they had called but no-one was in, and as they could not obtain an answer, I’d have to contact them to arrange a re-collection. I opened the front door to see if he was still there but he had gone.

The little man had not rang the door bell – and I know it working as the window cleaner had been for his payment today – and if he had knocked then it must have been so quiet that even a dog wouldn’t have heard it.

I rang the number on the slip, having waited for over two minutes for someone to pick up and explained very nicely what had happened.

The little woman was extremely snotty and insinuated that I was lying about not hearing the little man calling. She even claimed that I couldn't have looked out from the front door as the little man would have been driving a van and I couldn't have missed seeing it.

Those immortal words rang in my ears ‘don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’. Guess who appeared. Yep, the Customer from Hell.

A ‘burn its way out of the envelope’ letter will be on it’s way to her manager. That’ll teach her to upset me…

Marie

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Reporting in

As it’s been a few days since we’ve blogged I thought it best to put fingers to keyboard.

No appointment as yet from the hospital following my MRI scan. As it was two weeks since I had the scan, I rang the clinic on Thursday, like The Man Himself’s Sidekick told me to do if I hadn’t heard anything.

I was told that they had only received the results of the scan ‘yesterday’ and as The Man Himself was on holiday, his Sidekick consultant was looking after his patients. Once the Sidekick had looked at the scan, which I was told would be done shortly, an appointment would be sent out. I asked approximately when that would be and was told October at the earliest. It’s been nearly a year since I first saw my GP about my knee and I’m still no further forward.

My pressure sore is slowly getting better. Most of the dead skin has now gone, thanks to the dressing which liquefies it, and it’s not smelling or leaking as much as before, which is good news.

This afternoon we finally got round to photographing some of the clothes I’ve made, so the dining room became a photography studio. The model we used was very cooperative and didn’t have a hissy fit when there was no make-up artist or hairdresser to make her look beautiful. No, the model wasn’t me, it was Gertie, my tailors dummy. She has this wonderful facility of being able to lose inches from all parts of her body at a turn of a dial. Unfortunately I’m not adaptable…

Once we’ve tidied up the photos we’ll put them on our blog – and no, there won’t be any airbrushing !!!

Marie

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Getting my money's worth

Because of the various cocktail of painkillers I have to take at the moment, it works out a lot cheaper to buy a pre-payment prescription card every three months.

When we had to visit the Minor Injuries Unit in Stratford last Sunday, the Nurse Practitioner raided the Skin Clinic for some dressings as she didn't have anything suitable for my pressure sore in her treatment room.

These dressings proved to be much better than the ones I usually used as they cushioned my sore and stuck to my skin (normal plaster dressings only last a couple of hours before having to be patched up as they always come away).

When I saw my nurse on Tuesday I explained about the dressings and she said she'd order some.

She rang me on Wednesday and said that she had ordered the dressing but only two as they were expensive. When I saw her on Thursday yet again my usual dressing was stuck down with various tape and anything we could get our hands on.

As soon as she applied the new dressing to my sore she realised that they did indeed stick to my skin, so decided to order some to be delivered to the treatment room and some for me to have at home and asked if I paid for my prescriptions so I told her about the pre-payment card.

This morning one of our local pharmacy stores delivered a package containing a box of my pressure sore gel dressings and two boxes of the new foam adhesive dressings with five dressings in each box.

I did a search on the internet to see how much the dressings were seeing as my nurse said they were expensive and it turns out that a box of five dressings costs £47.73. Wow !!!!

Now that's what I call getting my moneys worth....

Marie

Friday, July 31, 2009

Shoot, stab, strangle

This morning I received a phone call:

“Hello”, I said.
“It’s me”, replied my mam, “how do I get rid of you”.
“What do you mean get rid of me”.
“How do I get rid of you”, she repeated.
“Er, I don’t understand, why do you want to get rid of me”.
“I’ve just switched on my mobile and your number keeps coming up. How do I get rid of you”.

Breathing a huge sigh of relief that she didn’t actually wanted to do away with me, I said I’d take a look at her mobile later today.

Marie

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A round up of the news

So what’s been happening in the BOGOF household.

I’m still in the wars with the pressure sore on my hip. I’m at the getting rid of the dead skin stage so it’s smelling revolting.

I also got a bit of as shock last week when John changed my dressing and I saw just how bad it was. Who would have though that something as simple as a tiny graze could turn into a horrendous wound.

At my doctors I’m a bit of a side show as they don’t get ‘walking’ pressure sore patients.

Still on all things medical last Thursday I went for my MRI scan on my knee. I was told the hospital would contact me within the next two weeks with a follow up appointment. Knowing Sunderland NHS Trust, I won’t hold my breath…

Friday was John’s birthday and the Birthday Bunny was very good to him. He didn’t have much time to ‘play with his presents’ though as we were off to Stratford upon Avon for a few days. It was the Sunderland air show last weekend and regular readers will know it’s a nightmare time for us residents when over a million people descend on us, so we decided to go away.

We had a lovely few days relaxing and chilling out. We did though have a visit to the Minor Injures Unit at Stratford Hospital. Because the weather was so hot my plaster dressings wouldn’t stick to my skin, so consequently we ran out of all the dressings we’d brought with us. We’d even resorted to using electricians tape to keep them in place…

On Sunday morning we went to the MIU to see if they could help us out. They were extremely friendly and couldn’t do enough for us.

So that’s what’s we’ve been up to.

Marie

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kerplunk

Up to last night we had 48 hours of non stop rain and strong winds. Still everything seemed to be fine until I went into the kitchen to say “Hello” to Marie when she came home. As I was standing there, I felt a sharp, cold sensational on the top of my head. Yes – it was a drip. And it was soon followed by its friends, then its friends friends.



I suspect the strong winds were driving the rain into the void above the kitchen. The rain would then have to make it’s way through the ceiling, and through a false ceiling before landing on top of the pine cladding that makes up the second false ceiling (Two false ceilings … yes that’s right. It’s a long story involving a previous owner and some very dodgy fake oak beams which we hid behind a layer of pine cladding).

The water was coming out a dirty brown colour, and smelled very strongly of pine, so it was out with the towels and buckets until it stopped, which was about 9 pm.



Still, it could have been worse. A couple of weeks ago we were away in Northampton looking at a hotel. Not a nice sight to come back to.

John

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Newsround update

Saw the nurse at the doctors on Thursday about my pressure sore. She’s taken a swab from it just in case there’s any infection as it’s smelling a bit…

Friday morning was my Aunt Bet’s funeral. My mam was ok, but a little bit away with the fairies. When she’s like that she can’t make decisions so I kept getting ‘would this coat be ok or what about this one’ over and over again. The same thing happened about the burial in the cemetery and the gathering afterwards – she wanted to go, then she didn’t, then she did…. We ended up going to both.

I’ve got a loud squeaky hip. At best it sounds like a squeaking door. At worst it sounds like someone breaking wind….

When I was last at the hospital I mentioned the squeaky hip to the Man Himself’s sidekick consultant. He said it wasn’t anything to worry about.

At a Catholic requiem funeral there’s a lot of standing and sitting. My hip was in full vocal squeaking mode so all I could hear was ‘rrrrrrrr’. It was really embarrassing.

One thing I thought that was in a bit of bad taste was the council workers hadn’t removed the bright yellow digger from the cemetery while the burial took place. A few feet behind the grave was the digger, with a little workman sitting ready to fill in the hole the moment the mourners had gone.

I was back to see the nurse at the doctors this morning about my pressure sore. The results from the swab aren’t back yet. The nurse has put a different dressing on it and as I’ve got to keep it dry at all times, I’m not allowed to shower or take a bath. Thankfully I have to go back on Thursday so hopefully the water ban will be lifted then.

Having a rub down with a flannel isn’t quite the same as soaking in a hot bath….

Marie

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Newsround

So what’s been happening these past few days in the BOGOF household.

I’m pleased, and relieved…, to say that the flies have gone from the kitchen.

Also gone are the seagulls who were nesting on one of the rooftops near where we live. They’ve left earlier than they have done in previous years. It’s probably down to there only being two chicks to feed instead of the usual three.

I’ve received my appointment to go for the MRI scan on my knee on 23rd July. It’s not at my usual hospital in Sunderland but one in South Tyneside. Thankfully John’s off work that day so he can come with me, and should the parking be as bad as it is in Sunderland, he can just drop me off, park up somewhere outside the hospital grounds then wait until I call him to pick me up.

I’m in the wars again. Somehow I managed to graze my left hip. It was a tiny graze, a couple of millimeters, if that. It’s not any more… Because of my knee I have to sleep on my left side with my knee raised, (it’s the only way I can get comfortable during the night) so consequently due to the pressure on my hip, the tiny graze has now developed into a large, painful and ugly pressure sore.
Just to make sure it was ok I saw the treatment room district nurse at my doctors surgery last Tuesday. She said it looked ok but wasn’t sure if it was infected. Normally she would have put some antiseptic cream on it, but as she works at a different surgery, didn’t have the authorisation to do so.
All she could do was put a dressing on it and told me to come back on Friday when a nurse who was employed by the surgery could put some cream on it. That’s a blog in itself, however all I’m going to say is typical NHS ! ! !
I went back on Friday and although it doesn’t look very pleasant, the nurse doesn’t think it’s infected. She’s given me some foam plasters to put on my hip to try and cushion it when I’m lying on it in bed. I’m back to see the nurse on Thursday.

I had a phone call from my mam on Sunday morning to say my dad’s sister has died. My mam and her became close following my dad’s illness. Aunt Bet was there when he died and helped my mam enormously through her grief. When my uncle died in October it hit my mam hard but I’m expecting it to be more so this time.
My mam rang this morning to say her funeral is 10am on Friday, and as they are Catholics it’s going to be the full requiem mass.

Marie

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Vin d’Ablution

As you know we do like our wine.

However there is one slight down side to that (other than the hangover if you’ve overindulged…) and that’s that it’s not very diet friendly.

While I was on the internet I happened to stumble across a company selling non-alcoholic wines, beers etc.

There used to be some really good non or low alcoholic beers on the market a few years ago so we thought we’d give the wine a try. If they were ok then we could still enjoy a bottle of wine without the guilt of excess calories or units of alcohol.

We ordered a half dozen selection of reds, whites and a sparkling so we’d get a variety of the different wines.

The first bottle we tried was one of the reds. It wasn’t very nice….

The second bottle we tried was a white. We decided to try this one after we’d had a bottle of real wine so we’d be slightly merry when we drank it and wouldn’t be too bothered how it tasted. To be fair it didn’t taste too bad.

The third bottle we tried was another red, but different from the first one. We again drank this one after a bottle of the real stuff. On it’s own it wasn’t that good so we decided to mix it with some lemonade to make sort of a sangria. It was ok but I couldn’t drink a lot of it.

We tried the fourth bottle, a white Riesling last night. Again it was after a bottle of the real thing. John tasted it first and had a pained look on his face… I didn’t get as fair as tasting it, the smell of enough !!!!! It smelt of wee.

None the non alcoholic wines we tried had the aroma that normally goes with real wine, however none of them was as vile as the Riesling.

The only way I could taste it was by holding my nose. It was pretty much how I imagine urine tastes. It was gross!!!

We still had two bottles left so decided to have a taste testing session in the kitchen last night.

The fifth bottle was another white. Thankfully it didn’t smell or taste of wee but didn’t taste very pleasant. John hit on the idea of trying some juice in them. Of the various varieties of juice we had, none of them made any difference to the horrible taste.

The sixth and final bottle was a fizzy. To be fair it didn’t smell that bad, well not compared to the others…

However the taste was pretty much like the previous ones that evening.

We still had some orange juice out from the previous tasting session so John made a ‘Bucks Fizz’. I’ve never tasted Bucks Fizz (I did have something similar at one of the Hull conferences - it was the one where we had to go to the Town Hall for a reception. The white wine was awful so we mixed it with orange juice) so couldn’t tell what it was meant to taste like. Somehow I think the real McCoy would taste better than what we had.

I guess it won’t come as any surprise that we won’t be buying any more….

Marie

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There are no flies on us…

…but there are in the kitchen.

We have a slight problem with blue bottle flies in the kitchen at the moment.

We first noticed a couple of them on the kitchen window on Sunday afternoon but just put it down to the back door being open.

Then a few more appeared.

Monday morning, as John was going to work, there were three on the window. Just as I was about to head out to my mams an hour later I had to chase five outside.

When I came back home there were over a dozen on the window. Horrible !!!!!

I became research gal on the internet as we couldn’t figure out where they were coming from and, more importantly, how to get rid of them.

Couldn’t find anything on the internet so rang a pest control company in Washington as they offered free advice.

Spoke to a lovely little man, who after I explained our fly predicament, told us what the problem probably was. It would seem that the most likely cause of the flies is a dead bird in the kitchen chimney.

Although he works for a pest control company, he advised against calling them out as we would be wasting our money. They wouldn’t be able to gain access to the source of the problem so would bill us for over £50 of fly repellent, when we could get the same stuff for under £5 at a DIY store.

So the kitchen is pretty cool at the moment as we have both the window and the back door wide open (so glad it’s the summer and not the winter….) to let them out, and it smells a bit with the fly repellent stuff.

I’ve been assured, thankfully, that the problem will only last for a few days.

I feel unclean!!!!

Marie

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Doctors

This morning I had a doctors appointment. The cocktail of painkillers I’m taking are making me bunged up in the loo department…

No sooner had I sat myself down when she said ‘you look rather pale. Are you ok’.

If I was then I wouldn’t be visiting you ! ! !

Marie

Monday, June 22, 2009

Square eyed

For the next five weeks the television viewing in the BOGOF household will be in overdrive.

Wimbledon started today so for two weeks it’s non-stop tennis.

Then it’s three weeks of the Tour De France.

The summer has definitely started…

Marie

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Still no further forward

Yesterday I was back at the hospital for my six week follow up after my local in April.

I should have been there on 27th May but thanks to a NHS admin cock-up, someone somewhere forgot to update my medical records so they had no record of me having my op. Wonderful ! ! !

I still never got to see The Man Himself. I did at least see a consultant who actually has his own patients and not some sidekick registrar. I did hear a rumor a few months ago that The Man Himself had left. Maybe it’s true and the NHS aren’t letting on to his patients. Knowing the NHS I wouldn’t put it past them.

Anyway the little consultant man (he was little by the way…) asked if the local had worked. I told him no it hadn’t.

“You mean you didn’t get any pain relief”, he asked.
“No”, I replied, “not a bit”.
“Not even a little bit. A tiny bit maybe”, he pleaded.
“Sorry, but it was just the same as before”.

I got the impression that they had been building up their hopes that the local would work. Sadly I rained on their parade…

Seeing as the local didn’t make any difference, they’ve now decided that I need to have a MRI scan done on my knee. Then it’s looking like they’re going to have to do some keyhole surgery on my knee before they’ll commit to replacing my hip and knee.

I just wish they’d make up their minds what they want to do…

Marie

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

They're Back

Yes – it’s that time of year again. The Seagulls are back. Regular readers will know that we’ve had a family of seagulls nesting on a rooftop near us for the past four years.



This year there are only the two chicks instead of the three we had last year, but judging from their size, the food supply has not been reduced accordingly.

Goodness knows how big they will be when they leave the nest in August.

John

Monday, June 15, 2009

More motherisms

Last Friday while at my mam’s we watched the tennis from Queens.

One of the commentators mentioned about players having superstitions to which my mam said, “there’s no more so than Evon”.
“I didn’t think Evonne Goolagong was superstitious”, I replied.
“Not her”, she said, “Evon”.
“Do you mean Ivan Lendal”, I asked.
“No”, she said getting a little agitated.

As I couldn’t think who she was one about I had to resort to 20 questions. Eventually I hit on the right person – Goran Ivoniservic…

The topic of tennis continued and we discussed Borg and Federer. She commented that they both had respect for each because they came from Norway and Denmark.

“Mam”, I replied, “Borg is Swedish and Federer is Swiss”.
“What does it matter”, she said, “they’re all Scantinavian”…

Marie

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Still here

Just a quick blog to say we’re both still here…

Sorry it’s been a while since we blogged but there hasn’t really been anything exiting to blog about.

Hopefully normal service will resume shortly.

Marie

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wii-bay

When we were at Chris and Jenny’s for New Year, Jan and Andy had brought with them their Wii. After playing tennis and bowling, we were both hooked !!!

Two weeks later, after Argos had finally got the Wii’s back in stock, we bought one.

When we went to the Metro Centre to collect our glasses (as requested by Jan, a photo of me wearing them will appear shortly), we called into one of the computer game shops, just to see what games they had for the Wii. Two of them caught our eye, Sport Island and Job Island, but as they were £18 each, decided not to buy them.

As we were still interested in the games, I did a search on the interest to see if I could find them cheaper than £18, but couldn’t find anything.

Just out of interest I tried Ebay and sure enough both were there. We’ve never used Ebay before so it was all a bit alien to us. Having completed all the various registrations, we set a price which we were prepared to pay for it and placed our bid.

Having been outbid and beaten a couple of times, we eventually won Sport Island for 1p under what we were prepared to pay for it.

I think we might be using Ebay more often…

Marie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Plural, not singular

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a plural person, never a singular.

I’ve nine needlework projects on the go at the moment; three cross stitch designs, three needlework cushions, two needlework glasses cases and a tapestry. I’m also making four skirts and three summer blouses. In the loft is three knitting machines.

I’m busy crocheting another blanket and have just bought some wool to start knitting a blanket.

I’m the same with books. I never just read one at a time. Currently I’m reading ‘1939 The Last Season’, ‘The Dastardly book for Dogs’, ‘How we lived then – A history of everyday life during the second world war’ and ‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austin.

I’ve got two PC’s - one is my main computer and the other is for games, plus two laptop computers.

I’ve also got two MP3 players. One is purely for music, while the other is for poetry which I listen to in bed when I can’t sleep. A third will be joining them later in the year which will be for audio books. In my work room I’ve got three radios - a CD radio, a DAB radio and an internet radio.

I do though have one thing which is singular – a husband!!!

Marie

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How we discovered crusing

Six and a half years ago we decided to go to the Monaco Grand Prix. We looked through the various motor sport travel company brochures offering packages to the Grand Prix, but there were so many options to choose from.

We decided that we would prefer to stay in Monte Carlo as apposed to staying in Nice and travelling into Monaco for qualifying and the race.

Our next decision was where to stay. Monaco isn’t a cheap country so naturally all the hotels were expensive. Once we had chosen a hotel, we then had to think about the cost of the race tickets (£420 each for the full weekend), plus on top of that was the cost of eating and drinking in Monaco. We estimated that the total cost would be pretty eye watering….

While flicking through the brochures again something caught John’s eye. It was a five day Monaco Grand Prix cruise with the cruise line Silversea. As well as it being a six star cruise ship, all food and drinks were included, and no tipping was allowed. On the Friday night there was to be a special Grand Prix dinner party taking place at the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, with the dress code being black tie for men and Bugatti Blue cocktail dress for ladies.



Also on board would be Sir Stirling Moss and Murray Walker. Plus race tickets for the entire weekend in a grandstand with a superb view thrown in.



As you can imagine we were drooling over this but expected it to be extremely expensive. To our complete surprise the cruise package was actually cheaper than doing it independently. So of course we just had to choose the cruise option ! ! !




While we were walking back to the ship after the race we both said that although we were having a fabulous time, the race actually got in the way of us enjoying the cruise experience. So we decided that the following year we would go on a Silversea cruise, just to see what it was like without the race. We’ve now done four….

Marie

Monday, May 18, 2009

Upgrade Included

Last year we bought a freeview receiver with built in hard disk recorder. The concept is excellent. No more worrying about video tape, watch the beginning of a programme while it’s still recording, and stop live television when the ‘phone rings.

There was just one problem. Back in July it decided to cry enough and had to be replaced. The original machine had an 80Gb hard disk and the replacement has 160Gb so we couldn’t grumble.

Except that just recently it locked up and nothing would get it going again. We called the helpline and were told to bring it in for replacement. You can guess where this is going. Yep, the second replacement had a 320Gb hard disk.

Now if only I can get back my lost recordings of last years Tour de France.

John

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I can see clearly now….

….or I will shortly when I become a spectacle wearer.

This morning we both went for our two yearly eye test. As usual John needed a new pair, which sadly meant parting with over £400.

Normally I’m sent on my way being reassured that everything is fine. Not this time though. As soon as the little optician man dropped a lens in front of my eye, and the letters become sharper, I knew I was joining the ranks of spectacle wearers.

It’s not as bad as it could have been because I only need them for reading or other close up work if my eyes are tired.

Boots had a buy one get one free offer, so I now have a pair for upstairs and a pair for downstairs.

Marie

PS apologies to Sybil Baggins for pinching her title…

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not as easy as it sounds

I’m trying to train my new laptop to recognise my voice.

The speech recognition devise said the more you use it, the more it will become familiar with your voice and understand what you’re saying.

It claims that if it misunderstands a word, you simply say ‘correct ‘X’’. It will then give a list of words which it thinks is the correct one, or you spell out the word. It will then remember it the next time. That’s the theory anyway…

John suggested I try using children’s learning to read books to help it understand my voice, so I found a couple of books on internet. The results weren’t that good…

“Carla and Mark have go carts” came out as “Calais and mark held court cards”. After correcting it, it came back with “Calais and mark hardcore carts”.

“Carla is number five. Mark is number seven” came out as “Colour is number fide. Market is number Severn”. Again after correcting it, it came back with “Carla is number five. Daughter Mark is number severn in”.

“Let’s race, says Mark” came out as “Let’s race, says Mark”. Whoopee it got it correct. Unfortunately the second time I tried it, it came back with “Next race, theatre mark in the”.

“Get ready, get set, go!” came out as “Get ready, yes set, go knew partly”

I think it’s going to take some time….

Marie

Monday, April 27, 2009

which Redman and

I decided to buy myself another laptop. My daughter one if the bit temperamental. The slightest movement can cottage to crash. Not a idea if I'm typing with it on my lap…

Given that it looks like an gone to the Indy sports are several weeks later this year, in reliable laptop will be really useful, especially if I not able to sit at my PC.

One of the features of my new laptop the speech recognition. Instead of typing away or using your mouse, you can dictate anything to the laptop and it will type it, all been an application, or simply using your boys.

In theory this would mean no more typing away at the keyboard when I'm working on my novel brackets nadir start a number two close brackets.

I dictator this log using the boys in recognition, and as you can see it still has some way to go by or in complete understands might not be so accent…

It'll really weird goal talking allowed to the computer and sing the words appear on the screen.




I'm offering a prize of a tube of Smarties to the first person who can submit a comment containing a corrected version of the above...

Marie

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In the wrong job

Our window cleaners aren’t the brightest of people and one of them is usually sporting some kind of facial injury…

For some time now we’ve had our suspicions that the small one of the two appears to have a fear of heights as if it’s his turn to do the windows, he’ll only clean the living room bay window and nothing else.

He won’t even use the small ladder to clean the small top windows on the bay. He simply does what he can reach by standing on his tiptoes then calls it done…

Sometimes the taller one will come round and clean the front upstairs windows but only if he remembers. We still though have to pay the full amount even if just the bay window is cleaned.

We also have our suspicions that they’ll try and pull a fast one by asking for payment when you know fine well the windows haven’t been cleaned. As I’m at home most of the time I know when they have been, so usually challenge them to tell me when they were cleaned. It’s amazing how they simply can’t remember which day they came round…

On Monday the smaller one of the two knocked at the door asking for payment. I had heard the sound of ladders, and just assumed they were working their way down the street,so paid him.

It turned out that the ladders belonged to a roofing company who were inspecting one of our neighbours roof.

Yesterday I heard the sound of ladders again and saw that it was the taller of the two window cleaners cleaning the windows over the road from us. I watched as he then cleaned our next door neighbours windows and then their neighbours. He had missed us out.

I went out and asked when they had cleaned our windows as I knew the upstairs windows hadn’t been done, as some kind bird decided to relieve itself all over John’s workroom window sometime over Easter.

He said that he didn’t know when they had been cleaned as it had been the small one of the two’s turn to clean the windows. I replied they couldn’t have been cleaned due to the bird poo. He then explained that due to an accident, he was frightened of heights so would only have cleaned the bay window.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality, but surely to be a window cleaner, you have to be able to climb a ladder….

As a good will gesture he would clean our windows again. Wasn’t that kind of him ! ! !

Marie

Monday, April 20, 2009

No change

I’m afraid there hasn’t been any change in my knee following my ‘op’ last Thursday. It still hurts….

I was told it would take a couple of days for the local to take effect, if the pain in my knee was actually coming from the hip, which is what ‘the man himself’ suspected.

I stopped taking my painkillers on Saturday morning in the hope that the local had worked, but by Sunday afternoon I couldn’t bear the pain any longer so I’m back on the tablets again.

In an ideal world it would have been wonderful if the pain had vanished, never to return again, but sadly it’s not to be.

So it looks like I’ll have to have the full set replaced. I’ll think I’ll change my name to the ‘Bionic Woman’…

Marie

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Done and dusted

I’ve had my ‘op’.

The little nurse man from the pre-op assessment clinic rang back on Tuesday to say he’d finally had a word with 'the man himself’ and that yes, the local can be done under a local anesthetic.

The lnm did stress that it would be uncomfortable which is why they always do the procedure under a general. I was to have think about it and get back to him on Wednesday morning.

Having had a chat with John, I decided that nothing could be worse than throwing up for 12 hours following a general, so a local it shall be.

I rang the lnm back, told him my decision and stress to him again that if they changed their minds and it was to be a general, then I would be walking out the hospital.

Yesterday evening the Day Surgery Department rang and said I was to come in at 1pm instead of 8am as initially planned. On on the one hand I was happy as it meant I could have a lie in, plus I wouldn’t be waiting around for hours in the hospital.

However it did mean though I would be hanging around at home just waiting for the time to pass, plus we would have huge problems getting parked at the hospital.

Early this morning I got a phone call from the Day Surgery to say that they were bringing forward all that days surgery, so could I come in earlier. I asked how early, to which they replied, ‘how soon can you get here’…

I think my Guardian Angel must have been working overtime (thank you ! ! !) as we got parked practically outside the Day Surgery Department, which was a real stroke of luck, as John was just going to drop me off, then go hunting a space.

I didn’t have to wait long before I was called up to the ward. Had I known though that there would have been a couple of hours wait before going into surgery, I would have taken my needlework with me. However I passed the time by filing my nails. I always do them when I’m waiting on appointments at doctors or hospitals.

The ‘op’ was a piece of cake ! ! ! I didn’t feel or felt any discomfort or it being unpleasant. Whilst the op was taking place I spent the time talking to the Theatre Sister. One thing she did say was ‘I can see from the x-ray that your hip is shot to bits’. Not very comforting…

While I was taken back to the recovery ward I asked the anaesthetist why the op is normally done under a general, as to me, it didn’t warrant it. He replied that most people have a low pain threshold which is why they do it. Sorry, but they must be real wimps as other than a small scratch when the needle went it, there wasn’t anything to feel.

As I was told not to have anything to eat or drink that day (unnecessary apparently as I was having a local), they wouldn’t let me leave until I’d had a cup of tea and a sandwich.

They also wouldn’t let me go home until they were sure my leg had regained some feeling after it had been numbed.

It’ll take about two days for the local to start taking affect (if the pain is actually in the hip that is) so they packed me off home with a box of paracetamols as once all the numbness wares off, it could be painful.

Marie

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A bit annoying

I gave an update on my knee recently, and mentioned that I was waiting on the little nurse man to get back to me on Monday to see what the next step would be regarding my ‘op’ next Thursday.

No surprises to learn that I’m still waiting…

As he didn’t phone me on Monday I rang him on Tuesday morning and got his answer machine. He rang back later that afternoon to say he hadn’t been able to speak with either my consultant or his side kick, but would try again the next day.

He rang back Wednesday to say that even after paging both of them, they still hadn’t contacted him. His next step was to send them both an urgent email asking them to contact him, and that he’d get back to me on Thursday. He asked was I prepared to have the ‘op’ if it had to be under a general anesthetic. I said no.

As I was at my mam’s on Thursday he left a message on our answer machine. He still hasn’t been able to contact them which is a bit annoying. My consultant’s side kick is on compassionate leave and the man himself is on his Easter break and won’t be back until Tuesday.

I’ve decided that if I don’t hear anything by Wednesday then I’m canceling my ‘op’. I am not prepared to arrive there at 8am, to sit around for several hours waiting for ‘my turn’, then be told that I’ve got to have a general. No way ! ! ! I would simply walk out of the hospital if that happens.

I’ve also decided that unless they come up with a cast iron medical reason why I can’t have a local for my ‘op’ and also for the various joint replacements, then I’m refusing to have them done. To be told it’s the consultant’s preference is simply no excuse as I know that joint replacements can be done under a local.

If that is the case then I’m prepared to put up with the pain and find a consultant who puts their patients first and not themselves.

Marie

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In my younger days

When we were at Blackpool, the conversation somehow got round to clothing, and I confessed to once wearing a pair of blue pixie boots, blue legwarmers, blue culottes and a blue checked frilly shirt.

In my defense I was young at the time and it was in the early Eighties when these things were in fashion.

What’s worse a photo was taken of me wearing them ! ! ! Gottle asked that it be put on our blog. What a shame I don’t have the photo any more….

I later mentioned that I used to have long hair. I’ve had short hair for over fourteen years and none of our friends can either remember me with long hair or have only seen me with it short.

So I’ve dug out some photos of me in my ‘hippy days’.










Marie

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Only something your mother would say III

Yesterday while at my mams I was looking though her photo albums as I was after a couple of photos of me for a forthcoming blog.

There was one photo in the album taken on my birthday (I think it was either my 12th or 13th).

She looked at the photo then said ‘who’d have thought that you would have grown up to be a fat as you are now’….

Marie

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Knee update

Yesterday I said I’d give you an update on my knee.

Back in November I blogged that having seen a knee specialist it turns out that I’ve got arthritis in both my knee and hip and that the only treatment was to have them replaced.

In January I went back to see the specialist and was told that they planned to put a local anesthetic in my hip then go back to see them six weeks later. Following the local, three things could happen.

1) the pain goes away completely. If it does then nothing more needs to be done other than come back every year for a check-up.

2) the pain would go away then come back. If that happens then I need to have a new hip as even though the pain appears to be in my knee, it’s actually coming from the hip.

3) the pain doesn’t go away. If that happens then the pain is coming from my knee. However, I’ll need to have a new hip then a new knee and that they both will have to be done within 12 weeks. It’s all very complicated ! ! !

Shortly before we went to Blackpool I received two letters from the hospital giving me a date for my local (16th April) and a date for my pre op assessment, which was today.

I didn’t really think that having a local in the hip would be classed as surgery, but apparently it is.

This morning I went for my pre op assessment and it was pretty much straight forward to check how healthy you are etc. One thing that is causing me concern is it looks like the ‘op’ will have to be done under a general anesthetic. I can’t see why and the nurse couldn’t understand why neither. He did ring my consultant but he and his underling won’t be back in the hospital until Monday.

I have a bad reaction to general anesthetics, always have done. Even something as simple as having a tooth out by ‘gas’ when I was a child wasn’t pleasant. When I had a hip op eleven years ago, I did explain to the anesthetist the problems I have and he gave me something for it, but I still through up for 12 hours solid ! ! !

It’s now at the stage where if the ops, and I could have to have three, must be done under a general rather than a local, then I’d rather suffer with the pain. It really is that bad…

So I’m going to have to wait until the little nurse man phones me on Monday to see what the next step is.

Marie

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

We’re back

Blackpool conference has been and gone so things are slowly getting back to normal.

We had a great weekend in Blackpool. The hotel were warned they would have a riot on their hands if the same thing happened on the Friday night as it did last year in Leeds (we were promised a three course carvery and got chicken curry instead – and they ran out of food half way through the night…).

The delegates enjoyed themselves so much that they want to go back to Blackpool and the same hotel, so we must be doing something right.

My gala dinner dress looked nice, if I do say so myself… Photos of that and my two tops (one of which I wore on the Friday night) will appear shortly. I did though have to take my bra off while we were sitting in the bar after the gala dinner.

My bra was a strapless and underwired and I can’t stand wearing it as it’s really uncomfortable. However, as I’m rather on the large size in the bust area, I had no option but to wear it. Jan did the decent thing and covered Paul’s eyes while I did my striptease, but he does have a photo of me and said bra …

I’m pleased to report that my knee didn’t cause me too much bother over the conference weekend. It was probably due to the change of painkillers I got from my GP shortly before we went away, as the ones I had been taking (Tramadol, which is a morphine like painkiller) weren’t working at all.

I had been expecting to go on to proper morphine but was told that there wasn’t any morphine strong enough for me to take to function normally. So it’s back on the codeine. Still I’m now down to taking only 16 painkillers a day instead of 21 ! ! !

One problem with changing my painkillers so close to conference was that I wasn’t able to drink that much over the weekend, as I wasn’t sure how alcohol would react with them. I still had a good time though.

Things on the knee front regarding the hospital are slowing moving which I’ll blog about tomorrow.

Yesterday after John returned the van (we had to hire one for the weekend as there was just too much equipment etc for it all to fit in my car) we went for our usual post conference Chinese meal. Only when we got there, they were close ! ! ! ! ! ! They had decided to take two weeks holiday. I was getting slightly worried as the last time they closed following a spring conference, we went to the Wessington pub and then I bought a new car.

Thankfully, the only thing we bought were two lots of Wiltshire Ham with two fried eggs, chips and peas and an apple crumble and a sponge pudding and custard. Yum, yum ! !

Marie

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Even busier bees

Sorry folks for the lack of blogs. We’re at the busy stage with Blackpool conference so I’m afraid we just haven’t had the time to do any blogging.

My gala dress is nearly finished. All I have to do is finish off hand stitching the hem. I’ve even managed to make two tops so hopefully one of them will be worn on the Friday night at Blackpool.

To my blog chums. I’ll try and pop over to say hello. However if I don’t the chance for a few days, please don’t think I’m ignoring you…

Marie

Monday, March 09, 2009

Busy bees

With less than three weeks to go before Blackpool conference, things are starting to get a bit busy in the BOGOF household.

Our dining room currently has eight large boxes of edibles for the conference packs standing on the floor and in another corner are boxes of note pads and folders. As the conference gets closer and closers, the dining room gets fuller and fuller.

We’re starting to get various queries from delegates which at times can be quite amusing. I’d love to write a ‘Conference Babylon’ but as I value my life, I’ll have to wait until we no longer organise them…

My gala dinner dress is slowly taking shape. Sadly it failed the first inspection from my mam so I’m having to re-do it ready for inspection number two on Friday.

Here's hoping she'll be happy with 'number two' or I'll have nothing to wear ! ! !

Marie

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Someone to watch over me

Yesterday and this morning my pains were really bad. I’d ran out of some of my painkillers and couldn’t pick up my prescription for some more until today.

This morning I had to go to two banks, pick up my prescription and then go to the chemist. Parking at all of this places is usually horrendous and given my pains I really couldn’t do with walking very far.

My Guardian Angel must have been looking out for me as I got parked no problem at all of the places, plus both of the banks were empty so I didn’t have to stand (which is something that really hurts) and there was only one person in front of me at both the doctors and the chemist.

If that wasn’t enough, my electric garage door worked first time *

Thank you Guardian Angel.

Marie


* the remote is temperamental at the moment so most of the time it won’t open the door, which means I have to park at the front, then wait for John to come home to open the door. Most annoying…

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Home alone

John's away on a course for work and won't be back until late tomorrow night so I've got the place all to myself.

Sadly no raves are planned for tonight. It's just me, a glass or wine (or two...), possibly some yummies from my birthday hamper, a DVD or two and some sewing.

Marie

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday present

For my fortieth birthday my lovely friends bought me a gift experience. There were so many things to choose from, however I decided on a day cookery course at Swinton Park in Masham, North Yorkshire.

Because of my knee I decided to wait until the New Year to book the course, as I expected my knee problem to be something simple as a damaged cartilage which could be fixed pretty easily.

However as you know things didn’t quite go to plan with my knee. The course entails standing which is something my knee can’t handle at the moment and whilst I could dose myself up with loads of painkillers, it’s not really practical given the side effects of the tablets.

I then thought about going on a wine tasting experience also at Swinton Park. However that has a lot of standing as well, plus because of my tablets I’m not supposed to drink that much. A glass or two of wine is fine but definitely not the quantity involved in wine tasting and I’m a drinker, not a spitter…

I had a look through the companies website and there were non-standing experiences that caught my eye. However as the best time for me to partake in them would be the summer, that’s out of the question again because of my knee. I could either be in hospital or stuck at home recuperating from my operation.

Yesterday I took delivery of this.





As you can see it’s huge. John very kindly offered to help me drink the wine seeing as I can’t have that much. Isn’t he so thoughtful…

I hope my friends aren’t too disappointed in what I’ve chosen. I would have dearly loved to have gone on the cookery course but sadly it isn’t wasn’t meant to be at the moment.

I have made a promise to myself that once I’m fit and well I will go on the course so I’ll then dedicate it to my friends.

Marie

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fabric to go

I’ve made a start on my dress for Blackpool conference gala dinner. The toile* is finished and ready to be scrutinised by my mam tomorrow.

Even though my mam keeps reminding me over and over again how she hates dressmaking and doesn’t want anything more to do with it, I’ve still got to take it to her for inspection.

Once she has given her approval (more like – you’ll have to let it out a bit more as it shows up your spare tyres….) I can then cut the dress out in the proper fabric. Or should I say my mam cuts the dress out and I become the scissors passers mate…

She’ll graciously allow me to sew the dress at home however I must bring it back to her for the final inspection.

I did once buy a dress pattern and some fabric without her being there and she still hasn’t forgiven me ! ! !

Marie


* test garment

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Only something your mother would say II

On Friday my mam and I went to Dainty Supplies (local haberdashery and fabric store) to find a pattern and some fabric for my Blackpool conference gala dinner dress.

I’d already made a short list of 10 having looked at the various patterns online so it was just a matter of choosing which one I liked the best.

As you know my mam is quite opinionated so she told me exactly what she thought of each pattern:

‘it’s too slutty’
‘you’re too short’
‘you’re too big busted’
‘you’ve got fat arms’
‘it’ll make you look old’
‘it’s a school prom dress and it was a long time since you were at school…’
‘you need to lose at least two stone in weight’
‘you’ve got fat knees’
and the best one ‘it’ll make look like a pregnant duck’ ! ! !

Marie

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for the lack of blogs but things are starting to get busy, busy, busy for Blackpool conference.

Last Thursday we had snow ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

It started with a few flurries mid morning then came down really heavy around noon and didn’t stop for several hours. Thankfully by the evening most of it had turned to slush.

Friday we were in Blackpool for a meeting with the hotel to finalise things for the conference. Then after the meeting we drove to Doncaster as we had a conference team meeting the next day.

We had arranged to meet with Emma and Paul, who were also staying at the Premier for the team meeting, at 6.15pm as the Beefeater Pub had a special priced three course meal for £9.99 each, but you had to be seated by 6.30pm.

We were running a little late having got caught in traffic on our way to Blackpool, which made us half an hour late for our meeting, then we hit rush hour traffic big time on the M62.

At 6.00pm we were only four hundred yards away from the Premier when we hit yet more traffic jams. The police had closed the very road we needed to get to the hotel...

It was dark, we were in the middle of a huge business park with no divisions signs, and a railway line in the way, and we had no idea how to find the hotel.

Eventually, with more luck than anything else, we stumbled on the hotel, and finally made it into the restaurant at 7.30pm. The restaurant staff had very kindly let us have the meal for £9.99 as Emma & Paul had been seated at the table at 6.15pm.

Blackpool conference, like the last time, is a complete sell out, and unfortunately the hotel can’t give us any more rooms. Apparently there’s an aerobic convention taking place somewhere in Blackpool and they’ve taken up the rest of the rooms.

This means that the ‘Innkeeper from Hell’ has had to make an appearance as would-be delegates complain that ‘there’s no room at the inn’ and are not happy bunnies….

This afternoon I had to go to the doctors to get some stronger painkillers for my knee as the others weren’t doing anything. I’ve now got four different one to take, each with their own various side-effects.

Wonderful ! ! ! !

Marie

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Snow

We haven't got any.

Not a bit.

OK, it's plenty cold but the ground is bare and dry. No chance of a day off work round here.

And before I close, here's something I meant to post last Thursday. If the date means anything to you, so will the cartoon.



John

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I’m racking my brain…

… to try and think of something to blog about.

A very long pause

Sadly I can’t come up with anything.

We really do lead exciting lives….

Marie

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nothing to report

I'm afraid life in the BOGOF household hasn't been that exciting hence the lack of blogs.

The side effects from my painkillers have worn off but not before it decided to set off my IBS for a few days. Thankfully that's settled down too.

So that's about the sum total of the news.

Marie

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Less (Than) is More (Than)

Insurance renewal. It’s always a bit of an odd time, but this year was even odder.

My insurance renewal arrived from More Than and it was for £374. Given the kind of car I drive this wasn’t such a bad price. If you drive an Alfa Romeo, some companies won’t even quote.

Of course no-one would accept the offer without looking for a better price so off to the internet I went.

Marie decided that she didn’t want to drive my car anymore, so we decided to see what price I could get without her on the policy. Best price offering like for like was £250, from More Than …

Silly me thought that all I had to do was ring them and get Marie taken off the policy and all would be fine. How wrong I was.

I was informed that to get a policy for me only would cost £391, an increase of £17. You could have heard a pin drop when I told the “Customer Manager” in the call centre the price I had been quoted on his own companies web site. He went to consult with his manger and offered me a “loyalty bonus” of £45, reducing the cost to £339.

Eventually he had to admit that my best option was to cancel the existing policy and take out the new one.

Same company, some policy, £141 price difference.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I don’t know what’s worse…

…the pain in my knee or the side effects from the tablets.

The first lot started on Friday – and that was before I had anything to drink ! ! ! Shortly after taking my tablets I felt a bit ‘funny’. It was like I was on the outside looking down on things. Thankfully that only lasted about half an hour after taking the tablets.

That stopped on Sunday afternoon to be replaced by a constant feeling of wanting to throw up. Consequently I hardly ate anything that day.

Monday the sickness was still there and that was joined by bloating, stomach cramps and trapped wind pain.

Tuesday the sickness has gone but has been replaced by diarrhoea and eye wateringly strong smelling farts…

Today I’ve still got diarrhoea but it’s not as bad. The bloating is still there but the stomach cramps and trapped wind pain aren’t as severe.

I’ve had a look at my tablets to see which one of them is causing the side effects and two of them have the above symptoms.

I’ll perceiver for a few more days in the hope that things will eventually settle down.

As for pain relief, they’ve hardly made any difference ! ! !

Marie

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rattling

Yesterday morning I went to the doctors to get some painkillers for my knee. The pain is getting worse to the point where I simply can’t put up with the discomfort any longer.

I saw a lovely lady doctor, who hasn’t been working at the surgery long, and who must have only been in her twenties. Made me feel so old ! ! !

She’s given me three lots of tablets to take and spent ages explaining in great detail everything there was to know about each tablet, even down to when they were first introduced into the medical world.

To be honest I would have been quite happy if she had just said ‘I’m prescribing you X,Y and Z. Here’s the prescription’.

Don’t get me wrong I was quite happy with the full history of the tablets, but she did bamboozle me a bit, when all I wanted was something to stop the pain.

Given that each prescription item costs £7.10 it was cheaper to buy a pre-paid prescription certificate, especially as I’d only been given a one month supply of tablets, plus the doctor said I had to go back after two weeks for something else if they didn’t work.

I was a little concerned as one of the tablets had a warning on the box saying alcoholic drinks had to be avoided. To my great relief the pharmacist said that I could still drink alcohol but not to excess.

It’s bad enough being in pain, but it would have been too much to go without my wine ! ! !

Marie

Saturday, January 03, 2009

There’s always one

This morning we took down the Christmas decorations.

Nearly every year we usually find a decoration or two that has been hiding in the kitchen dresser or on a bookshelf several weeks after they have been put away in the loft.

This year we double-checked all the usual hiding places and as we found no stray items, John put the decorations in the loft.

After lunch we did some house work and guess what I found – a jar of baubles that had been in the bathroom.

Before you say anything, I know it seems strange to have Christmas decorations in the bathroom. However we had some spare baubles and a nice looking jar and thought it was a shame not to put them to good use. We then realised there was nowhere downstairs for them so decided to put them in the bathroom.

Marie

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy new year…

… and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too.

It’s customary to make New Years resolutions but as I’m not a resolutions person here’s my wish list.

1) I wish to win the jackpot lottery. The Euro would be preferable but I won’t look a gift lottery in the mouth if it’s the normal one.

2) I wish to lose weight.

3) I wish to complete the second draft of my novel and start writing my second one.

4) Santa very kindly brought me lots of books and as I’ve loads of half-read or never got round to reading them books, I wish to spend more time reading.

5) I wish to get back to playing the piano and clarinet.

6) I wish to complete all unfinished bits of needlework and sewing.

7) I wish to blog more as we’ve been pretty poor in keeping things up-to-date.

Marie

PS regular readers to this blog will probably have realised that 1, 2, 3 and 5 come up every year….