Posted by: glenswatman | May 23, 2012

20120511-20 The roller coaster continues, a long down but a fast recovery

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FRIDAY 11 MAY – I do more cleaning and finish the unpacking in the morning.  I’ve had toothache since I went a week last Monday and have an appointment at 1.30pm at the acute dental clinic at St James hospital Leeds.  The downside of the free treatment is that the students always want to talk through your medical history (over half an hour) then do a thorough mouth check before getting to the problem.  Again 2 of the teachers, Gerry & Martin, get involved and after x-rays decide the problem is probably cause by a high spot on the recent filling.  This is filed down but the pain may take 2 weeks to ease.  It’s after 4.30pm when I leave and I race to make the 4.55 train.  I wanted to be back by 5pm to help Claire who is borrowing the works van to pick up the “freecycle” sofa bed but I won’t even get to Keighley until 5.20pm.  Claire has enlisted the help of the guy at the house and managed to get the sofa into the van but getting into the bungalow is a nightmare.  Steve is too weak to help much, Natasha isn’t great at following instructions and I am only marginally stronger than Steve.  It takes us ages and is really hard as it is takes up all the space going through the doors (luckily I do intend decorating soon).  Once in the lounge we have trouble placing it, we now have 2 sofas of equal length, the arm chair and a table which is probably too much furniture but it would be difficult to figure what we would lose so will live with it all for a while.  We leave Claire & Natasha tidying up as we head to the two Helens for a meal and motorhome trip chat.  Their Rapido van is really nice and they have been lucky in that the person who is taking Helens job for a year is also going to rent their house.  We have a lovely meal of homemade butternut squash soup, chicken dinner then fruit with chocolate and cream to dip it in.  When we arrive home Claire & Natasha have found a good arrangement for the lounge furniture and enhanced it with gifts of flowers and a dish with scented dried fancy balls.  They arrive shortly after with our fridge/freezer in the van, bought for £25 from a neighbour of Lisa’s.  This is much easier to get in and managed by just Claire and myself.  Really the only thing we are missing now is a washing machine so we have done really well since moving on Wednesday and it is all looking really nice.


SATURDAY 12 MAY – I head over to Bradford to pick up Daniel from his Dads.  On the way back I call in to a car boot sale, leaving Daniel in the car as he is still wearing his monkey lounging around suit – hope to goodness we don’t have an accident in the car or they might take him off to the vets!  I drop Daniel off and return to get Steve up before the 2 Helens arrive.  They’ve been borrowing my laptop to download moves for their trip.  This morning we talk about major highlights in Europe so they can add them to their trip plan which really brings back many memories and makes us appreciate just how much we have seen.    In the afternoon I do a freezer stocking shop.  Early evening we head off to Shipley where Natasha is swimming in a gala.  I do a shop at ASDA (can’t believe how many little things I have missed buying or acquiring) then return to see Natasha come second in her race with a great personal best time.  Call in to Richard Johns on the way home.  Jane is there and gives me some special fluoride mouth wash to try to ease my toothache.  They also give us a selection of things for the bungalow including a much needed electric kettle.


SUNDAY 13 MAY With my newly purchased cheap toothbrush I set about bleaching all the grouting in the shower then deal with the mould bits around the windows.  Richard and Jane call round and drop off even more stuff that we need.  They’ve got Kieran with them and are going kite flying in the playing field just below us.  It’s a really windy day and although I know that Knoll is a hill I now suspect the Whin is a variant for windy!  I find my new cooker cooks fast and hot and only just manage to get out the roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese before it is burnt, at least the pork            is cooked perfectly.  Mom & Dad visit in the afternoon and both are very impressed with the bungalow and want to move in when we move out.  Steve is still feeling sickly and very lethargic and I am quite worried about his next round of chemo with him starting off at such a low point.


MONDAY 14 MAY – Steve’s had a bad night, which means I also have.  He just can’t get comfy but I suspect this is in part from the fact that all he does at the moment is lie in bed or in the arm chair.  Although it is no longer raining every day on the days it doesn’t rain it is very cold and windy so impossible to tempt Steve out for a walk.  I head off to town on a mission to tick off jobs on my list and do manage most of it.  Just as we are about to have lunch the hospital call to say they need Steve in for blood tests, either now or at 6am.  It takes well over an hour as they clean his Hickman line as well but much better than tomorrow.  We also learn that he can keep taking his anti sickness tablets even though he is off the chemo so this may be of some help.


TUESDAY 15 MAY – Steve’s feeling no better but gets up in time for us to meet Bev & Norm at the train station at quarter past 10.  We last saw them in July when they finished their “Swatour” in Venice so we have lots of catching up to do.  They had an inadvertent 1 hour too early wakeup call at 4pm and caught the 7am train from London so have already had a long day.  Back home we hear all about what has been happening with their family and friends and also about their recent NCL cruise from Copenhagen around the Baltic’s and they catch up on the bits of our news that weren’t in the diary.  At lunchtime we take them out to Wetherspoons and Claire meets us there in her lunch hour.  Steve’s pretty weary after lunch so we drop him at home then I take Bev & Norm for a drive with a walk around Keighley Tarn and Oakworth Park and detour to show them one of the worst areas of Keighley Braithwaite which surprises me as it looks much better than it used to.  We fit in a bit more of a chat at home before I drop them for the 4.30pm train to Leeds for them to connect with the 6.15pm bus back to London.  Steve has to be back in hospital by 6pm but keeps putting off and I can understand his resistance.  I don’t quite have to drag him screaming and kicking but he does take a lot of prompting to get in the car and again to get him out once we arrive at hospital.  On the ward they want more blood for testing as there are some odd results from yesterday.  Unfortunately his Hickman line again won’t let the blood out so they have to jab him in the arm.  They arrange for the Doctor to come to prescribe an anti sickness drug for in his drip but there is obviously some emergency on the ward and the Doctor is there but doesn’t come to see him.  By 8.15pm Steve suggests I set off to get home before dark and he will call if there is any news.  Leaving the ward it’s pretty obvious that someone has or is just about to die as a huge family of people are clustered by a side room with each going in then coming out crying.  I quickly return to Steve to say that someone seems need more care than he does and to try not to hassle the nurses too much.  When I walk past again it is pretty obvious what is happening and I burst into tears myself.  Luckily it is just when sister Netty phones to see how we are doing so she manages to chat and calm me down before my drive home.  It’s quite strange returning to the bungalow alone and Steve is conspicuous by his absence and I feel very lonely.


WEDNESDAY 16 MAY – I get up early and do the prepping for painting.  By 8.30am I am itching to get the paint so check on line whether B&Q open at 9 or 10am.  Darn it, they opened at 7am and I could have already been on with the painting.  The special offer of Crown magnolia matt paint with 10 litres for £10 is perfect.  By the time I leave for Claire’s in the afternoon the bedroom has had one coat, but needs another and both the halls have had one coat which will be enough over the pink.  I pick Daniel up and then cook a meal at Claire’s and do some washing.  After dropping Natasha at swimming we visit Steve.  He’s pretty poorly and they can’t give him anything for the sickness until the chemo is finished.  He tries sucking a jelly baby but it makes him sick and then dry retch.  He’s also got diarrhoea and they have sent tests off to be cultured but these take 48 hours.  In the meantime they won’t treat him for it.  Very hard to see Steve so sick and fed up.


THURSDAY 17 MAY – I’m awake early so crack on giving the bathroom a coat of paint, the bedroom a second coat then another on the bathroom.  Steve’ pretty fed up so I drive over in the afternoon and take him a tracksuit as he is cold.  He did ask me to buy pyjamas with draw string cord to accommodate his stomach that inflates and deflates with chemo but nowadays they all seem to have elastic waists.  We speak to Helen who says that the way Steve is feeling is very typical and she is surprised he hasn’t felt this sick in the past.  The chemo has now all gone through so they should soon be able to get on top of the sickness.  At 3.30pm I pick up my first Couchsurfing guest Dominika from Poland.   I take her home and enjoy hearing many of her stories.  A few years she and her husband took a mortgage with a Swiss bank but when the franc got too strong they had to sell.  After selling up they had £10,000 left over and decided to blow it all on a trip of a lifetime after Dominika’s Dad’s cancer scare last year.  With her husband and 16 and 11 year daughters they spent 15 months going round the world.  At the end of it they returned to live with her husband’s parents but things were not working out and Dominika has come to England where she is now looking for work.  I cook us a chilli pasta dinner then take her for a drive out over the tops where she enjoys the views.  We call in at Mom & Dads then get picked up to go to bowling.  The team we are playing against are on holiday so Dominika is able to play as one of the pacers.


FRIDAY 18 MAY – I take Dominika for another ride out, this time including Haworth.  It looks really nice as the main street is all decorated ready for the 1940’s weekend.  For lunch I serve her Yorkshire pudding with onion gravy then see her off on the bus to her next host at Otley.  With luck she will be able to return to us when Steve is home.  I just have time to paint the kitchen before driving to Claire’s to cook our meal.  After dropping Natasha at swimming we visit Steve who is considerably better.  He is now eating and not being sick and sat up in a chair.  As soon as visiting ends we drive to Halifax to pick up Daniel.  I really don’t know how Claire copes with all this taxi service, last night she did 75 miles.


SATURDAY 19 MAY – For the final push I get the lounge painted, as I am going over magnolia it is quite hard to see where I have done but just hope for the best.  Claire & Daniel call down for an egg & chips lunch before Daniel & I head to hospital whilst Claire goes home to study for her last exam next week.  At the hospital Daniel says a quick hello to Steve then settles in the waiting room to make us of the hospital free Wi-Fi to do some homework.  Steve has improved no end.  He is now off the drips as his counts have come down far enough and he is happy to sit up playing cards.  Just before I leave the sister changes his door code from red to green and announces his stool tests are clean and he can now venture out.  Steve says does this mean he can come home but she tells him not to push his luck and make do with the corridor.  I now take Daniel over to a party near Halifax.  Tom-tom Satnav has a bit of a fit and takes us down a farm track complete with horse poo that splatters up at the car.  It’s a surprise party for the girl so Daniel is pleased that I drop him off at the appointed time.  I call back at Claire’s to drop off Daniels school stuff and invite her round for supper.  I’ve just got home when Nancy calls and invites me up there for a Chinese.  I explain about Claire coming round and suggest she comes down to join us.  We have a merry meal, enhanced by Nancy’s delicious wine.  After they have left I clean the hall, bathroom and kitchen carpets with dustpan and brush (the vacuum is broken) then crawl around and shampoo them before hitting the sack.


SUNDAY 20 MAY – This morning I tackle the mound of paperwork.  Having moved house I have to deal with all the utilities etc.  I find a cylinder vacuum cleaner on freecycle in Shipley and am just organising when to collect when Steve rings.  The Doctor has just been round and says he can come home.  Claire is in Bradford picking up Natasha and says she will pick Steve up and the vacuum en route.  Steve’s home by 11am and immediately notices how “creamy” the bungalow looks.  I do explain that it will be less obvious once I have got things on the walls.  It’s almost warm outside in the sun so after lunch he does an hour pottering around in the garden.   It’s a beautiful garden with loads of shrubs and Steve unearths numerous plant pots with dead things that have been scattered amongst them.  After calling in to Mom and Dad we head to Asda to fill up on the newly reduced petrol (£1.32 litre) and to do a major shop.  It’s reduction time whilst we are there so we load up and invite Claire and the kids for tea.  Natasha doesn’t want to leave as she likes the warmth of the bungalow the fact the cupboards are full of food and that we play lots of cards.



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