Posted by: glenswatman | April 22, 2012

20120411-20 ENGLAND House hunting

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WEDNESDAY 11 APRIL – I visit the council housing office and also view a few rental properties. A couple of possibilities including a pleasant 2 bed terrace at Stockbridge at £400 a month. In the afternoon we walk, and get drenched, to the Picture House to see The New Exotic Marigold Hotel set in India, it is hilarious and funnily enough does not in any way make us want to return to India.

THURSDAY 12 APRIL – When Steve gets to hospital they tell him the Doctor wants to see him after his blood tests. Vicky from Macmillan financial support comes over and helps me fill in the disability living allowance claim form. Dr Sam Ackroyd spends a lot of time with us explaining about the future treatment. Basically this is intense chemo cycles for 4 more months then 2 years of maintenance weaning down to monthly visits. The bone marrow transplant is still an option and we agree the best thing is to have a consultation with the transplant Doctor at Leeds. We are not so happy to learn that we really need to stay within 1-hours drive of the hospital.. If Steve gets a fever they need him back within the hour to pump anti biotics into him. Our planned trip to a country hotel near Manchester fails on the distance and also Steve would not be allowed to use the Jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath or swimming pool for risk of infection. In about 2 weeks time when Steve’s blood counts are up they will begin the next cycle. This is over 28 days with 2 hospital in patient stints for 24 hour heavy duty chemo, the duration in hospital dependent on Steve’s reaction. Today all his blood counts are on the way down but not low enough for him to need treatment, what they hope is that they will come up on naturally, if they get too low he will need a transfusion. Dr Ackroyd suspects the rash on Steve’s arms is an allergic reaction to one of the drugs he is on and prescribes a steroid cream. Our next appointment is for tests next Wednesday. As usual we feel drained and weary by the time we get home. Steve has a lie down whilst I head off to town borrowing Moms shopping trolley. I buy a 2 burner electric hob, £16.99 from B&M then realise I also need pans so kit myself out at Morrisons before getting caught, as usual, in a downpour whilst walking home. In the evening we drive over to Shipley for the bowling. We catch up with our old friends and I suggests Steve signs up for the league, we realise that between us we can make 1 man as if Steve is unable to bowl I can stand in for him. Jeans grandson has had an operation and will be unable to play for 6 weeks so we will start next week.

FRIDAY 13 APRIL – Another day of house hunting reveals a few possibilities in the council and private market. Probably the best is a 1 bedroom council bungalow but it is designed for a disable person so the disabilities housing have first refusal on it until next Wednesday after which it is ours if we want. Martin from Whitegates is brilliant and almost takes me on a tour of Yorkshire trying to find something that fits the bill, bearing in mind I don’t really know myself what we want this is a really challenge. I write a list of the properties with pros and cons and although I am trying to be positive for each pro there is a con. We go out to the restaurant opposite us, Azeems, for an evening meal joined by Sandra and Keith. Our chat helps me to realise why I am finding it hard to decide which property is best. Even with one around £600 a month they are still not right. We have a really nice meal trying some different styles of cooking and also have most enjoyable company.

SATURDAY 14 APRIL – We had a call yesterday from bowling friends who have a property for rent up at Long Lee. It is a 1 bed quad like the one I saw before but theirs is partially furnished and we could rent on an informal basis. Steve joins me for a visit and agrees it has possibilities and at £300 a month would leave us more spare money for treats. We drive up to the council 1 bed bungalow at Highfield and Steve is surprised how much he likes it so I think if we are offered it on Wednesday this will be the one, the bonus being that the previous tenant left nice carpets and a nearly new bed, bedroom suite and sofa and we could keep them. The rooms are all bigger than the house at Long Lee and it is the same price, although not in such a nice area. In the afternoon Steve walks to “The Royal Oak” to watch Liverpool win in the cup semi final.

SUNDAY 15 APRIL – I’m starting to get a bit tired as one of the neighbours has their TV on very loud each morning from about 5.30am – 8.00 and I find it hard to sleep through. Late morning I take Mom & Dad for a ride out whilst I go up to feed Natasha’s rabbits then show them the bungalow which they agree we should take. Late afternoon our friend Andy Lyle calls to visit. He has had a brain tumour removed but there is still something amiss so he has to go back to Leeds. There’s an amazing scar all across his head where they peeled his scalp back but as he says, at least he got a face lift out of it. His 7 year old son Harry is with him so he can’t say too much but will come back and visit another time.

MONDAY 16 APRIL – For once it isn’t raining so I take my time doing shopping and scouting out furniture options, the best seems to be Lees ex catalogue warehouse. In the evening our friend Helen and her friend Helen call round. Helen is the Mum of one of Claire’s swimming mates so we go back many years. The two women are taking a year out to travel around Europe in a newly bought motorhome and are looking for advice and tips. It’s hard to know what to advice as they won’t be leaving until after the Olympics at the end of August so without doing a lot of extra mileage it will be hard to cover much of Europe at the right time of year but we can at least tell them about free camping, motorhome essential stuff etc.

TUESDAY 17 APRIL – When Steve gets up I notice a mass of shed hair, not just on the pillow but all down his side of the bed. I read up on his chemo chemicals and find that a side effect of Etoposide can be full body hair loss. Steve’s reluctant to let me shave his head so I make do with washing all the bedding through which I will no doubt repeat tomorrow. I drive over to Keith’s at Silsden to view a sofa bed he is selling which may be a possibility. Steve planned to come with me so we could do a walk along Silsden canal but the rain is back. We play cards during the afternoon whilst Mom takes Dad across to Thompson Court for a week’s respite care. Claire calls round for her tea and we get a visit from Mom along with her hairdresser Leanne who used to go to school with Claire. Later we pop down to see Lisa and Mick when they drop off his Mum Ivy ready for her holiday to the Isle of Man with Mom tomorrow.

WEDNESDAY 18 APRIL – Steve’s hair is definitely coming out as we wake to a hairy bed. Today we should hear whether we have the council bungalow so as a last alternative we visit Harden Caravan Park. This is now being turned into a park home park and the statics are being removed. Static caravans are the single width models whilst park homes are the much more expensive double width bungalow type. They have nothing for rent and all the sites and homes have been sold. It seems that this is the type of home that many retirees in England are now seeking. At the hospital it is really quiet and we park easily and Steve goes straight in to give blood at 9.30pm. The Doctor wants to see him after the blood tests comes back so Joey says she will fast track them to get them back in 1-hour. Sitting in the waiting room we get chatting to Cameron and Vivienne from Ilkley. He has acute myeloid leukaemia (luckily the curable type). We seem to have lots in common and exchange contact details to meet up again outside of hospital. Steve’s results come through at 12.30pm; all his counts are creeping up so he won’t need any transfusion. However they are nowhere near high enough for him to be ready for the next cycle of chemo. Dr Ackroyd is now at lunch so they tell us to leave and the registrar will phone later to talk things through and make an appointment for next week (they don’t). Call in to Wilkinson’s in Shipley to buy more household items as their basic stuff is even cheaper than ASDA and Morrisons. Pay a short visit to Dad who is happily settled into his “holiday home”. After dinner I shave the hair off Steve’s head but know we are still going to have a messy bed with all his body hair coming out. Martin from Whitegates phones me and says there is a bungalow he thinks will suit us and we can view later this afternoon. Shortly after Maggie calls to say the 1 bedroom council bungalow is ours but won’t be ready for 2 to 4 weeks. We visit the private bungalow which we can see will be beautiful after a complete makeover. It has 2 bedrooms but the extra one would be a tight fit for a double bed in. It has a garage and is a slightly nice location but probably noisier. Even taking into account that it is £475 a month versus £300 it is a tough call. We talk it through over dinner and lean towards giving the council one a try knowing we only have to give 1 months notice and if we are not happy there we can still be looking for a private rental.

THURSDAY 19 APRIL – I pop downtown and manage to get my hair cut, £6, as a walk in. Our motorhome friends Jean & Arf arrive. They’ve just had a few days with friends on a canal boat near York. Apparently even with a canal boat you can use rivers to connect to other canals, the problem at the moment is that after all the rain the rivers are high and flowing fast and it can be a bit scary. We talk about their journey back from when they were with us in Spain. Heading out we call by Harry’s second hand shop and he has just had a Zanussi double oven ceramic top cooker in, at £50 I quickly get a deposit down. He also has a cream leather look arm chair that rocks and has a foot rest and for £10 I snap it up. We drive Jean & Arf up to show them the bungalow and they think it is nice. Down at Wetherspoons we cash in on their 2 for £6.49 dinners and they are very nice too. Steve and Arf have the steak and kidney pudding, Jean the gammon and me chilli con carne. With reasonably priced drinks the whole bill is less than £20 so I can see us visiting quite often. We also show Jean & Arf the nice bungalow at Long Lee and quickly realise we have made the right decision as there is a constant flow of traffic up Cherry Tree Rise even at 2.30pm. The hospital call to say they are very happy with Steve’s blood counts and Dr Ackroyd is keen to crack on with the next cycle of chemo. They will call back and give us a day early next week for Steve to be admitted, have a permanent Hickman line fitted and then start the chemo. We just need to go the day before for blood tests to make sure there are no big changes. In the evening Steve goes out to bowling and whislt I go on the Internet and check out freecycle. I write to quite a few people requesting the things they are giving away, sofa bed, garden furniture, kitchen applicances and more. The main things I think we will have to buy are a fridge freezer and washing machine but other than that we will just move in and then work out what we need.

FRIDAY 20 APRIL – Today Ken’s friend Mavis has booked the studio for 2 nights so we are moving up to Claire’s. It doesn’t take me long to change the bedding and have a last clean around – one of the advantages of having a small place. It seems a nicer warmer morning so I peg out Claire’s washing, big mistake as a couple of hours later we get a downpour and it all gets wet – flaming April showers. The hospital call, they want Steve in next week but suspect they are having trouble juggling limited beds and will call us back on Monday to confirm which day. Late afternoon Steve collects Natasha after school, she’s had a great time on her Malta swimming trip. In the evening the kids go to Daz’s and we are home with Claire. I’ve bought a second hand Kindle from Richard so finding my way around that keeps me amused. Not entirely sure it is what I want but everyone tells me I must have one!


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