Posted by: glenswatman | July 20, 2013

20130711-20 Back to reality

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THURSDAY 11 JULY – I’m still feeling a little delicate and Nurse Ruth suggests just rice crackers today.  Another carer Maria has also been sick and had a headache but puts hers down to withdrawal from 6 strong cups of coffee each day.  Today we talk about Emotional and psychological health and the impact of cancer on relationships plus more depth on the other subjects.  It’s all very emotional at times and although neither is keen on the general group format we both gain a lot from it.  By the time the course closes at 5pm a good few friendships have been formed.  I stock up with sick bowls for the journey and with Steve driving managing the 2 ½ hours up to Mum’s.  Poor Mum is looking rather sorry for herself and understandably so after being in constant pain since her falls last weekend.  She’s now using 2 sticks to walk around and having agreed to check out a walker now finds it would be too heavy for her to lift and get onto the bus.  It may be that she has been doing too much since her falls as she has still been going out and about but that’s Mum for you!


FRIDAY 12 JULY – I’m up early catching up with paperwork etc.  I hear Mum coughing and take in a drink and medicine, she’s in agony and hasn’t slept all night.  I give her a massage and slice of toast but she is still unwell and asks me to call the Doctor out.  They do a phone consultation and suggest a combination of 3 different pain medications at night, our concern now is that the medications are making Mum very forgetful and affecting her balance.  We do as much as we can around the bungalow then settle Mum in the lounge before calling for Netty & Ian.  At the cottage they more things have been done but the carpets still need laying and a few things need cleaning and finishing touches and because this has all taken the company so long the garden now needs re-doing.  We want to make the front area maintenance free and Netty & Ian offer suggestions then rather than us paying someone to do it we will use them instead.  We go for lunch at The Swan and sit outside enjoying the lovely weather.  My stomach is still a bit dodgy and I think I make a bad choice in the vegetable goulash as I feel queasy all the way back.  I do what I can to help Mum and even give her the full massage in the evening, including candlelight and soft music, but nothing seems to help.


SATURDAY 13 JULY – Mum’s supposed to be going to a concert tonight but feels so unwell she cancels it.  There is some confusion with her morning tablets as she has run out of an important one so Steve & I walk to town to sort it out.  They give us an emergency supply but we then find a bag of medicines pushed to the back of her cupboard.  She still wants to have her hair done so I drive her up town for her hair appointment and wander round for the 1 ½ hours it takes.  There’s a new ice cream parlour opened nearby so we head there for a treat.  Mum’s weary after her outing so I take her home.  An hour or so later she is up for a ride to Newport to check out walkers and other disability aids at a store there.  The problem is that although a walker would help her getting around they are all too heavy for her to lift onto the bus.  However Mum is now much more open to the idea of moving up into a sheltered housing apartment in the centre of Market Drayton from where she would not need to go on a bus.  After the ride to Newport Mum realises she wouldn’t be able to cope with a journey to Yorkshire to come up for the planned visit.  Steve & I head to Netty’s, Ian is away camping.  We are both most concerned that at the moment Mum is not well enough to be home alone and also in the long term needs but be in a place with more people around.  Netty will do more investigating on her day off in the week.  When we get back Mum is asleep on the sofa looking very frail and unwell, what a worry.


SUNDAY 14 JULY – Mum enjoys melon for breakfast and we leave plenty of fresh fruit and other food before we head off.  In Manchester we meet David & Donna for stroll around a car boot sale.  They are both looking well after a recent holiday on Crete.  I can’t resist some brand new curtains that would look good in our bedroom, well at £1 I can’t go wrong.  It’s too busy for Steve so we take our leave after a quick chat.  Claire is moving to Wyke to day so we meet up at her new rental home, a 3 storey 4 bedroom terrace house on a nice estate.  She’s borrowed the works van and friends have done the same so 2 vans at a time things are being brought over.  I get stuck in to cleaning whilst Steve heads home.  I return when the gang set out on another run.  Considering we’ve been away 6 weeks and had the bungalow surrounded by the gas men digging things up the garden and house are very clean and tidy.  My stomach is still playing up so I am happy to take my time with the unpacking and do little else.  In the evening Netty calls to say she has visited Mum who has a strange colour and looks terrible.  She says she has a bad feeling of an accident waiting to happen and I am inclined to agree but we feel helpless.


MONDAY 15 JULY – The upside of my upset stomach is that this morning I have gone under the 10 stone mark just, 9 stone, 13 ¾ lbs!  Another half a stone and I shall be happy.  When I turn the phone one there is a message from Netty.  Mum had another fall in the night and at 4am Netty was round there whilst the paramedics got her to hospital.  They are assessing her at Princess Royal whilst Netty has had to go to work.  Netty rings me shortly after as Sister at A&E has called to say Mum is ready to go home.  Netty explains Mum lives alone and is not well enough to go home but Sister says she needs the bed.  In the end the Sister says she will get the frail team to assess Mum.  I get involved and make phone calls and by mid morning they have got Mum a place at Whitchurch hospital for step down care.  This is just what she needs as they won’t be treating her as such but helping with pain relief and mobility until she has improved.  Steve and I walk to town and catch up with Mom and Ivy who arrived home at 2am after being over to Belgium for the weekend to see Andre Rieu in concert.  They enjoyed the concert but have found the journey a bit much.  I visit the Docs and get my HRT dose halved, get myself on the waiting list to have my bunion removed and get my stomach upset checked out.  Doc thinks it sounds like food poisoning and advises accordingly.  Walking home we both realise how much fitter we both are walking faster and having no need to stop at all.  It’s a lovely day so I catch up on the washing then paperwork.


TUESDAY 16 JULY – I call the hospital and speak to Mum, still in a lot of pain but the physio is going to see her today and she is getting well looked after.  Steve has a hearing test appointment at Airedale.  The young audiologist sympathises with Steve’s lack of hearing in some of the higher pitches but says a hearing aid would help those levels but at the same time make lower sounds harder to hear.  Overall his opinion is that society is to blame for Steve’s general reduced hearing with new flat screen TV’s having poor sound, background music on programmes and too many, people mumbling!  Next stop is St James for Steve’s lumbar puncture and MTX chemotherapy.  He’s seen by Dr Naeem a registrar who unfortunately takes 3 attempts to get the right spot.  Steve now see’s the chemo as a good thing that is helping him stay well and tolerates is all.  We know that if he takes caffeine and paracetamol straight away and stays flat for the first 24 hours he is much less likely to get the “ice cream” headaches so recline the car seat for the drive to Lisa’s.  Whilst he lies flat out on the sofa we catch up on news.  As soon as we arrive home Steve lies on the sofa bed in the lounge and stays there until bedtime.  Netty calls to say that Mum was in the lounge when she visited.  She is now very keen to move to a ground floor apartment in town and wanted to know all about the ones Netty viewed today.  She will be staying at Whitchurch hospital for about a week whilst she learns to walk with a walker and do some exercises as the physio says she has poor or no muscle control in her lower back area.


WEDNESDAY 17 JULY – Steve transfers to the sofa bed and if feeling quite well.  I walk down town and get a quick hair cut, £5, really don’t like going to the hairdressers so just nipping in for a trim works well for me.  Summer is definitely here and I spend some of the afternoon sat out.  After bemoaning how cold our bungalow is we are now in a position to be grateful as it is still cool in the lounge.


THURSDAY 18 JULY – We walk down and visit Mom & Dad.  Dad’s keen to have a ride out so whilst Mom goes into town we take Dad up to The Tarn.  He happily sits on a bench whilst we walk round a couple of times and really enjoys himself and keeps saying how much he likes it there.  Steve’s feeling a bit grotty in the afternoon so rests on the bed indoors whilst I rest on the sunbed outside.  Claire calls round in the evening for tea.  Her house sale should complete tomorrow so she wants me to search for a family holiday for them at October half term.  She says it was mental in the new house on the first morning as they now have 3 bathrooms but only 1 tube of toothpaste, 1 toilet roll and 1 lot of shampoo etc so everyone was chasing for it!  We have a really good chat and catch up and it seems strange to think of her now living well over half an hour away and us having to plan more when we can see each other.  She sets me the task of finding them an all-inclusive holiday for October half term, somewhere hot and near a water park for the kids.


FRIDAY 19 JULY – Think the chemo is still having an effect on Steve as he feels a bit under par, (funny how that phrase came to mind, must be from all the golf I have been hearing him watch on TV).  I’ve a couple of jobs to do in town for Claire so we tie this in with Steve running Mom to the hairdressers then returning home to pick up the fan that she gave us but now wants back.  Whilst we were away the gas board dug up our garden and a representative calls round as the new grass is not growing.  He says they will come back, flatten it out better and re seed it next week but with us going away again I do wonder how it will fare without being watered.  They also agree to contribute towards the extra cost of having to stay away whilst the work was done and for digging up my herb garden so in reality we have done rather well out of it all.   Financial adviser Steve Grundy calls round to tie up a few loose ends with Steve’s pensions and discuss investments so we have quite a busy afternoon.


SATURDAY 20 JULY – Well it’s still warm weather but the sun has been replaced by full cloud.  It works well for me as I need to wash the car and it has been just too hot the last few days. Claire asks me to book the holiday  I have found to Crete at Mareblue Village which has it’s own waterpark, guess that ticks all the boxes.   In the afternoon we visit Mom & Dad, she’s phoned the “Glen’s helpline” up to say her freezer needs defrosting so we get that sorted.  Call Mum who has been moved to a different room with just one lady, unfortunately this lady is deaf and has the TV on very loud (maybe I should have suggested Mum takes her hearing aids out)!  She’s desperate to go home but the Doctor won’t be round until Monday and Netty & I are concerned that if she goes home too soon she will have another fall and will also be marooned in the bungalow as she couldn’t possibly manage the steps on her own.   Claire calls in the evening, big problem.  When I checked the school holidays on the Internet I only went and picked up the half term days for 2012 and they are a week later this year so the holiday is booked at the wrong time.




  1. Glen and Steve

    We sure hope both of you are getting along pretty well. It seems like eons ago that we were eating at three dog corner together. We are fine here. Don’t think that we will get away from home this coming winter as our house and garage needed new roofing. It will be a very long winter indeed.
    We are so sorry that you have had such trouble with your health. Keep up your stories and we wish you the best. Marilyn and Randy

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