Posted by: glenswatman | March 2, 2012

20120221-29 SPAIN Playa Flamenca and Benidorm

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TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY – It’s a much nicer day and Steve is feeling tons better and settles himself on the roof terrace to sunbathe. Reckon this will do him the world of good.  Shirley and I both need to pay a visit to the dentist so in the afternoon head off to check them out.  In Torrevieja we find one near Carrefour that offer a free check up and estimate on any work to be done and we book in for tomorrow.  Heading out for the evening I realise I have locked us out.  When I went out earlier I separated the house and car keys and only have car keys in my hand.  Neighbour George who has a spare is not home.  We’re invited to John & Shirley’s and know in a worst case scenario we could always stay overnight.  John’s cooked a huge pile of pancakes and we eat some with sugar and lemon and others with ice cream and caramel sauce – so yummy we eat way to many but it is great to see Steve tucking in.  Having seen him stripped of sunbathing he has lost so much weight.  When we drive back George is home so problem solved.

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WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY – Steve’s so much better I suggest a walk to the Consum supermarket, the furthest he has walked since he came home and he does really well keeping up a good pace.  I’ve invited Tana & Graham round for a curry so set about getting it underway and soon have the flat smelling like a curry house.  They arrive early afternoon after their bridge lesson.  We sit on the balcony eating the starters and chatting away.  For main course I have done a dhal dish and pork and mushroom curry and nothing goes to waste as we all really enjoy it.  A glance thorough our photos convinces them to add Galapagos Islands to their trip itinerary.  Just after they leave I turn on the laptop to get the extremely sad news that our good friend Rod Andrews died yesterday.  We are staggered and very upset by this.  Speak to his daughter Michelle and then Nancy but barely know what to say.  We’ve been friends for over 20 years and Steve regularly bowled with Rod and we knew them socially.

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THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY – Neither of us slept well as we kept waking and thinking about Rod and Nancy.  Next week Steve’s sister Netty is visiting Benidorm so we decide to check into the Flamingo Oasis 4 star hotel on an all inclusive basis, (€90 night) see them and have a nice mini holiday ourselves.  As Steve is feeling so much better we spend the morning soaking up the sun the head out to lunch at the Times Square buffet where he gets through 4 lots of ribs as well as sampling most of the other items.  Back for the afternoon for more roof top sunbathing with the temperature said to get into the mid 20’s over the weekend.  Parents of our Couchsurfing friend in Canada are helping me with cancer reducing diets and Diana sends loads of info.  Surprisingly the basics are alkaline 75% and acid 25% which is what I had been trying to do to reduce my acid reflux.  The other main things are whole foods, no meat but a little fish and chicken and lots of fruit and lightly cooked veg.  Will still have a blow out at the all inclusive hotel next week but after that make a real effort to change our eating habits.  It’s not all doom and gloom though as the odd glass of red wine and 70% and higher of dark chocolate are OK.  In the evening we join John & Shirley for the quiz at Liberty’s.  They have 6 categories and you can play a joker in one for double points, out of 5 teams we end up 3rd so not too bad and good fun.

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FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY – Steve comes along for the ride when I go to the dentist.  At Pro Dental Dr Tata begins by giving me an injection into the area of the sensitive tooth.  This has little effect so he follows it up with a second.  He asks if I have had coffee, I have, and says this can sometimes delay the effect and people in Germany know never to drink coffee before going to the dentist.  4 injections and half an hour later I am numb but still have sensitivity in the area and he concludes it is due to hormones and suggests I contact my gynaecologist to ask about going off HRT for a few days before returning for dental treatment.  I pop into Carrefour and buy a new outfit for our “holiday” next week.  Back home I do research on the internet about my dental problem and find no mention at all sounds a bit fishy to me.  It takes until almost 5pm for the numbness to wear off.  The gynaecologist in England will call me back on Monday but I am now very suspicious.  I call Georgie, whose husband Terry was in hospital with Steve.  His leukaemia was a different type and in his brain.  Sad news is that he died last Sunday.  Most of his children managed to make it over to see him last week and Georgie’s daughter from Australia is now over to stay with her for a month so we will catch up later.  In the evening we watch a pirate copy of “The Iron Lady” that John has lent us.

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SATURDAY 25 JANUARY – The open air market is huge, taking over a whole street and stretching for well over a mile.  The fruit and veg are very reasonable and look good, especially the huge strawberries.  Other things on offer are clothes, shoes, toiletries, linen, jewellery and more.  Steve feels a bit weary so we don’t make it to the end and he feels a bit dizzy and has to lie down on return.   He’s well enough in the afternoon to head to the pub to watch football and I pick him up after the game to go to the “carnival” procession.  It ends at Playa Flamenca Mercadona car park, supposedly around 6.30pm but of course we are on Spanish time.  We meet up with John & Shirley but keep our distance as John has just started with man flu”.  Around 8pm the procession starts to appear, the floats being cars towing hug boom boxes followed by dancers.  Not worth the wait in the cold.

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SUNDAY 26FEBRUARY – After all the research we are trying to convert to an alkaline predominant diet – in fact we have been heading that way for a year or so as it helps with my acid reflux.  There are variations in information on what you should and shouldn’t eat but the constant factor is that cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment.  Today breakfast is hot lemon water and porridge with honey – actually all tastes fine.   Know it will all go to pot next week at the all-inclusive resort but we’ve got to make a start sometime and also need to work out way through all the “wrong” foods in the cupboard – being too mean to throw them out!  Late afternoon Steve walks to the pub to watch the Liverpool match.  After an epic battle Liverpool beat Cardiff on penalties.  Know he will be cold after the walk home so make some French onion soup and make sure we have our medicine “1 glass of red wine” with it.

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MONDAY 27 FEBRUARY – I’ve already spent hours on line researching Steve’s illness and bone marrow transplant but today am focused on finding a good hospital for when we return to England.  By law any patient in England can opt to be treated at any NHS hospital.  My research also seems to indicate that the more cases a specialist has treated the better your chances so I target the 2 cancer hospitals, one in Manchester and one in Liverpool and write for more information.  Knowing Steve can only ever have one bone marrow transplant we have to give it our best shot, no matter how inconvenient it may be if he is in a hospital away from family and friends.  As the weather is good again we spend a lot of time soaking up the sun on the roof.  Early evening we drive to Torrevieja to Tana & Grahams apartment.  They have a Couchsurfing visitor Ken who is walking from Portugal to Egypt for peace (www.downtoegypt.blogspot.com).  We enjoy a delicious meal including slow cooked beef and an unusual mixed dessert as Tana is using up odds and ends.  Later this week they set off to drive to England to connect with their flight to Costa Rica.  We move on to the pub for the quiz where tonight extra section is 16 photographs of actors; Ken helps no end in this part.  In the main quiz we get few wrong but end up second by 1 point.  Feel sad that this may be the last time we see Tana and Graham as we already feel like we have been friends for ages and there are so many more things we would have liked to ask Ken about his journey.  Back home I’ve had an encouraging reply from “The Christie” hospital at Manchester.

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TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY – Unable to meet up with the Winton’s as they both have colds we have the day free.  Rain has passed through in the night and it’s hot again.  I put together the things we want to take to Benidorm tomorrow then get back on the hospital search.  From the blood cancer group I get good info in that evidence suggest having an experienced transplant surgeon is more important for outcomes than the underlying condition.  This at least gives me a bit more to work on as he confirms that the 3 I have short listed, St James at Leeds, Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham and The Christie in Manchester would all fit the bill.

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WEDNESDAY 29 FEBRUARY – We’re off on holiday so make an early start and arrive in Benidorm at Hotel Flamingo Oasis at 10am.  Mark is in the lobby waiting for us whilst Netty has gone out.  We’ve got a deal at €70 (£60) night all inclusive and have been allocate room 605 which has recently been refurbished, but can’t get in until 12.30. However we are given our photo cards which means we can go for breakfast.  There is just one dining room and it is all self service buffet style with plenty of choice.   Netty arrives back and we head up to their “suite” to drop off our bag.  Along with a nicer room and Jacuzzi in the bathroom, they get extras such as access to a special lounge and roof top swimming pool.  After lunch Steve needs a rest whilst Mark, Netty & I take a walk.  We’re on the same road as the famous Benidorm Palace and about a 10 minute walk from the beach.  After getting side tracked in the shops we return to wake Steve for the 3pm quiz.  ½ a point off winning close but no cigar.  Netty & Mark enjoy cards and we play a few rounds of “crash” and also catch up on family news.  A corner of the lobby is taken up with loads of different types of wheelchairs and mobility scooters to rent.  Can see why they have Madge on one on “Benidorm”.  In the evening there is an Italian themed buffet.  The lads then watch the football whilst Netty and I go to the show.  It’s a man and woman who first do acrobatics then go into magic including Daniels “hiding the hanky in your hand” trick.

BENIDORM 1, HOTEL FLAMINGO OASIS

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