Posted by: glenswatman | October 10, 2013

20131001-10 A first re-birthday celebration

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TUESDAY 1 OCTOBER – I join the Stompers group and we head over towards Ilkley to begin our walk.  The 6 ½ miles takes us high up with views across to Ilkley Moor.  It’s another nice group of ladies but with a faster pace this is more suited to me.  Catching the bus back I notice that at least half of us have paid a fare reflecting a slightly lower age group than the Stumblers!  It’d after 4pm when I get home so I begin by cooking up the organic beef and making a roast dinner which is all delicious.  Steve has been out foraging for blackberries so I make blackberry muffins and pop them in the oven as soon as the dinner comes out.  Helen has given me a “forgiving” recipe that never fails but it hasn’t come across me before.  Not sure whether bun cases lose their non stick over the years but they stick to the muffins and the bottoms of most of them have burnt even though I went for 10C lower and 5 minutes less than the recipe says.  The middles are fine so we have some as pudding with custard.  To finish off I knock up a batch of leek and potato soup so all round a very productive day.


WEDNESDAY OCTOBER – Auntie Pam had a triple bypass just over a week ago and is now home so we call to visit.  It’s a big operation and has knocked the stuffing out of her but she is just starting to feel a bit better.  In Leeds Steve heads off for his pulmonary testing and I relax with a reiki session at the MacMillan centre.  We’ve planned well and Steve goes in for his reiki after me then we both go over for his 3.45 cardiac testing.   It’s the same department as the breathing test so they know he’s been hanging around and fit him in almost immediately (know how much people complain about NHS but in our experience they are working brilliantly).  Coming up to Steve’s first birthday he calls in to Ward J89 to see the nurses and show them how well he is doing.  Sister Honey recognises him immediately and straight away knows why he has called.  We return via Claire’s to catch up with everyone.  Claire’s foot is now in its 3rd cast (one she can remove to bathe etc) and although she can now walk without crutches she did try putting a little weight on it the other day and it was incredibly painful.  We are really proud of Daniel, he has just signed up as a donor with Anthony Nolan register.  Today he has received his initial spit test kit so I photograph him doing in as a way of promoting the fact that they are now taking donors over the age of 16 rather than 18.  Natasha is, well Natasha is just Natasha as funny and giddy as ever.  We were away for Steve’s birthday so Claire cooks us a special meal and what a treat it is.  Steak served on hot stones with all the trimmings.  (Just had a real chuckle doing a check through as I had originally put Steve served on hot stones etc).  David has offered to accompany Mum on a holiday and I manage to get them both booked into the 4 star adult’s only Flash Hotel in Benidorm for 4 days at the beginning of November which will be something for Mum to really look forward to.


THURSDAY 3 OCTOBER – I’ve been asked to have more blood tests done so get that sorted first thing  It’s back to the Doctors in the afternoon for our flu jabs and it should be Steve’s 12 month baby jabs but Sister Kath is not happy about one of them and re books Steve for 5.30pm to give her time to check it all out.  Keith & Sandra come round in the afternoon and we have a most enjoyable chat and a good few belly laughs.  Once Steve comes back from his jabs we sit down to a healthy dinner, curry with organic meat and veg followed by fresh fruit salad.  David calls with the unfortunate news that he is being made redundant, Asians have bought out the petrol station where he works and are closing for 10 weeks whilst they revamp it and he suspects they will be putting new staff in after that.  Such a shame he has been there just less than 2 years so won’t get redundancy payout.


FRIDAY 4 OCTOBER – Near Sheffield we visit Arf & Jean who are staying at their sons place.  It’s a lovely spot in the country with fantastic views.  Jean does a lovely lunch with homemade soup, salad and fruit compote.  Much of the talk is medical as both Steve & Arf have undergone major operations and Jean and I have a couple of ongoing things.  We’re booked into the Aston Hotel between Rotherham and Sheffield.  Sitting in the lounge we play “hand and foot” card game which takes ages.  Across the road is a Morrisons and after Jean’s feast at lunch time we all agree that a snack in their cafe will be sufficient.  They have a deal on and we get 2 meals and 2 drinks for £8.  Return to play more cards and pick up one of the bottles of wine that come with our package.


SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER – The reason for the celebration weekend is that it is exactly 1 year today since Steve received his stem cell transplant.  I’ve got him a 1st birthday card to commemorate this momentous date.  Meeting Jean and Arf for breakfast they have gone one better and got a card with a “1” badge on it.  Our weekend package is for 2 nights at the hotel, 2 breakfasts each, 1 evening meal, 1 bottle of wine and 2 tickets to Chatsworth house at a total of £159.  Today Arf takes us on a beautiful scenic drive past Ladybower Reservoir and through the Derbyshire countryside to get to Chatsworth.  Normally £16 for the house and gardens it is pretty expensive but once we begin our tour we can see it is outstanding.  Overall probably the best house we have visited in England with magnificent paintings on the ceilings, lovely furniture, feature rooms and other things.  After lunch, sat out in the warm sun, we begin to explore the gardens.  There’s a special exhibition of massive sculptures in addition to all the original features including a cascade, grotto, rock garden and canal pool.  The gardens are huge and in addition to doing many of the highlights we could have spent best part of a day just wondering around finding other secret places and features, it is really lovely.  It’s after 4pm once we’ve finished so back at the hotel we retire to our rooms for a bit of a rest then meet again for cards before our evening meal.  Unusually you are able to pick from the 3 course special menu of the day and also mix it with choices from the regular menu (sometimes with supplements).  With another bottle of wine the special meal goes down a treat and we round off the evening with more cards.


SUNDAY 6 OCTOBER – I’d hope we could explore Sheffield today but Steve feels he has a cold coming on so we abandon that idea but decide to call in to visit Claire.  Turns out she no longer has a lift to work and needs to catch 2 buses leaving at 6.15am in a morning.  Talk it through and suggest we stay over, help with a few things through the day then run her to work in the morning.  I walk over to ASDA and buy the where with all to make a tomato and basil soup with enough for us all to freeze some.


MONDAY 7 OCTOBER – Gee, how on earth do people get up at 7am to go to work each day!  It’s been almost 30 years since we had to do that having been retired for 17 years and lived on the premises of our Post Office for 11 years before that.  Back home Steve settles in bed whilst I begin by getting washing on.  The day brightens up and is amazingly warm for October, about 18C.  I do some gardening and also clean the car inside and out.  Steve really seems to be going down with “manflu” which is not good news.  I speak to a lady from Helios homeopathic medicines and she arranges to send out some Symphytum which will help both Steve and Claire with their healing bones and she recommends arnica for me to help after my bunion operation.


TUESDAY 8 OCTOBER –I leave Steve in bed as he is really feeling under the weather.  Sandra picks my up then 3 more ladies for the drive to our Stumblers walk.  Today we are at Brimham Rocks and having not visited for about 30 years I had forgotten just how beautiful it is.  There are areas of natural rock formations at the top of a hill and splendid views all around.  On the way back we call in to “Coldstones cut”, Yorkshires newest, biggest and highest piece of walk around artwork.  We nearly get blown away walking up the path to it but the views down into the quarry and to the surrounding countryside make it worthwhile.  Back home Steve is up but still battling with his cold.  I knock up some mushroom soup then lentil bolognaises which he quickly devours.


WEDNESDAY 9 OCTOBER- Steve leaves at 8am for his appointments in Leeds whilst I walk to town to catch the bus to Airedale.  My pre-op assessment goes well and according to their tests I’m fighting fit.  Catching the train to Leeds takes me back to this time last year when I was going every day to visit Steve.  Today he has had a bone density test and annual check up with Suzanne.  She is really pleased with his progress but the tests show that he has osteopenia from the treatment and a high iron count due to all the transfusions.  Neither are a great worry and tests will be done again in 2 months before they decide whether to treat Steve or not.  There’s been a bit of a botch up with his intrathecal appointment so we hang around until after 4pm when Doctor Willie Wong can do it.  Fortunately Willie is more experienced and manages it at the first attempt.  Arrive home just after 6pm after a marathon medical day.



THURSDAY 10 OCTOBER – Steve’s really feeling under the weather, partly from the chemo and lumbar puncture but mainly from flu.  We’ve retrieved my old diaries from Mum’s so he sets about reading them all going right back to 1997 when we set off.  Every few minutes I get a call of “Glen do you remember this, or Glen I’d forgotten that, Glen can you remember those people”.  This continues throughout the whole day and is quite entertaining.  It’s amazing how much we have forgotten and I’m pleased that Steve is getting so much enjoyment out of them – always said we would read them when we were too old to travel but hoping this is not the case.  I have a really busy day washing, cleaning, unpacking more stuff from Mums, cooking and doing an on line shop with Ocado as I couldn’t resist the offer of free delivery and £15 off a £60 shop.  Claire arrives for tea.  She’s now driving a bit with a trainer on but has to but her plaster cast and special shoe on to walk.  She enjoys my Thai soup, jacket potato with lentil bolognaises and blackberry and apple crumble.  Steve takes himself off to bed after tea and it reminds us of hospital as we both sit on the bed beside him chatting.  Claire settles herself in for a night on the sofa bed in the lounge and giggles away as it feels like a sleepover.



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